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TORTS AND

DAMAGES
Full Text Cases

UNIVERSITY OF SANTO TOMAS - LEGAZPI


COLLEGE OF LAW
PEÑARANDA CAMPUS, LEGAZPI CITY

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Republic of the Philippines Because the discomforts somehow
SUPREME COURT interfered with her normal ways, she sought
Manila professional advice. She was advised to
undergo an operation for the removal of a
FIRST DIVISION stone in her gall bladder (TSN, January 13,
1988, p. 5). She underwent a series of
G.R. No. 124354 December 29, 1999 examinations which included blood and urine
tests (Exhs. "A" and "C") which indicated she
was fit for surgery.
ROGELIO E. RAMOS and ERLINDA RAMOS, in
their own behalf and as natural guardians of the
minors, ROMMEL RAMOS, ROY RODERICK Through the intercession of a mutual friend,
RAMOS and RON RAYMOND RAMOS, petitioners, Dr. Buenviaje (TSN, January 13, 1988, p. 7),
she and her husband Rogelio met for the first
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, DELOS SANTOS MEDICAL time Dr. Orlino Hozaka (should be
Hosaka; see TSN, February 20, 1990, p. 3),
CENTER, DR. ORLINO HOSAKA and DRA.
PERFECTA GUTIERREZ, respondents. one of the defendants in this case, on June
10, 1985. They agreed that their date at the
operating table at the DLSMC (another
KAPUNAN, J.: defendant), would be on June 17, 1985 at
9:00 A.M.. Dr. Hosaka decided that she
The Hippocratic Oath mandates physicians to give should undergo a "cholecystectomy"
primordial consideration to the health and welfare of operation after examining the documents
their patients. If a doctor fails to live up to this precept, (findings from the Capitol Medical Center,
he is made accountable for his acts. A mistake, FEU Hospital and DLSMC) presented to him.
through gross negligence or incompetence or plain Rogelio E. Ramos, however, asked Dr.
human error, may spell the difference between life Hosaka to look for a good anesthesiologist.
and death. In this sense, the doctor plays God on his Dr. Hosaka, in turn, assured Rogelio that he
patient's fate. 1 will get a good anesthesiologist. Dr. Hosaka
charged a fee of P16,000.00, which was to
In the case at bar, the Court is called upon to rule include the anesthesiologist's fee and which
whether a surgeon, an anesthesiologist and a was to be paid after the operation (TSN,
hospital should be made liable for the unfortunate October 19, 1989, pp. 14-15, 22-23, 31-33;
comatose condition of a patient scheduled for TSN, February 27, 1990, p. 13; and TSN,
cholecystectomy. 2 November 9, 1989, pp. 3-4, 10, 17).

Petitioners seek the reversal of the decision 3 of the A day before the scheduled date of
Court of Appeals, dated 29 May 1995, which operation, she was admitted at one of the
overturned the decision 4 of the Regional Trial Court, rooms of the DLSMC, located along E.
dated 30 January 1992, finding private respondents Rodriguez Avenue, Quezon City (TSN,
liable for damages arising from negligence in the October 19,1989, p. 11).
performance of their professional duties towards
petitioner Erlinda Ramos resulting in her comatose At around 7:30 A.M. of June 17, 1985 and
condition. while still in her room, she was prepared for
the operation by the hospital staff. Her sister-
The antecedent facts as summarized by the trial in-law, Herminda Cruz, who was the Dean of
court are reproduced hereunder: the College of Nursing at the Capitol Medical
Center, was also there for moral support.
Plaintiff Erlinda Ramos was, until the She reiterated her previous request for
afternoon of June 17, 1985, a 47-year old Herminda to be with her even during the
(Exh. "A") robust woman (TSN, October 19, operation. After praying, she was given
1989, p. 10). Except for occasional injections. Her hands were held by Herminda
complaints of discomfort due to pains as they went down from her room to the
allegedly caused by the presence of a stone operating room (TSN, January 13, 1988, pp.
in her gall bladder (TSN, January 13, 1988, 9-11). Her husband, Rogelio, was also with
pp. 4-5), she was as normal as any other her (TSN, October 19, 1989, p. 18). At the
woman. Married to Rogelio E. Ramos, an operating room, Herminda saw about two or
executive of Philippine Long Distance three nurses and Dr. Perfecta Gutierrez, the
Telephone Company, she has three children other defendant, who was to administer
whose names are Rommel Ramos, Roy anesthesia. Although not a member of the
Roderick Ramos and Ron Raymond Ramos hospital staff, Herminda introduced herself
(TSN, October 19, 1989, pp. 5-6). as Dean of the College of Nursing at the

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Capitol Medical Center who was to provide her attention on what Dr. Gutierrez was
moral support to the patient, to them. doing. She thereafter noticed bluish
Herminda was allowed to stay inside the discoloration of the nailbeds of the left hand
operating room. of the hapless Erlinda even as Dr. Hosaka
approached her. She then heard Dr. Hosaka
At around 9:30 A.M., Dr. Gutierrez reached issue an order for someone to call Dr.
a nearby phone to look for Dr. Hosaka who Calderon, another anesthesiologist (id., p.
was not yet in (TSN, January 13, 1988, pp. 19). After Dr. Calderon arrived at the
11-12). Dr. Gutierrez thereafter informed operating room, she saw this
Herminda Cruz about the prospect of a delay anesthesiologist trying to intubate the
in the arrival of Dr. Hosaka. Herminda then patient. The patient's nailbed became bluish
went back to the patient who asked, "Mindy, and the patient was placed in a
wala pa ba ang Doctor"? The former replied, trendelenburg position — a position where
"Huwag kang mag-alaala, darating na iyon" the head of the patient is placed in a position
(Ibid.). lower than her feet which is an indication that
there is a decrease of blood supply to the
patient's brain (Id., pp. 19-20). Immediately
Thereafter, Herminda went out of the
thereafter, she went out of the operating
operating room and informed the patient's
room, and she told Rogelio E. Ramos "that
husband, Rogelio, that the doctor was not
yet around (id., p. 13). When she returned to something wrong was . . . happening" (Ibid.).
the operating room, the patient told her, Dr. Calderon was then able to intubate the
patient (TSN, July 25, 1991, p. 9).
"Mindy, inip na inip na ako, ikuha mo ako ng
ibang Doctor." So, she went out again and
told Rogelio about what the patient said (id., Meanwhile, Rogelio, who was outside the
p. 15). Thereafter, she returned to the operating room, saw a respiratory machine
operating room. being rushed towards the door of the
operating room. He also saw several doctors
rushing towards the operating room. When
At around 10:00 A.M., Rogelio E. Ramos
informed by Herminda Cruz that something
was "already dying [and] waiting for the
arrival of the doctor" even as he did his best wrong was happening, he told her
to find somebody who will allow him to pull (Herminda) to be back with the patient inside
the operating room (TSN, October 19, 1989,
out his wife from the operating room (TSN,
pp. 25-28).
October 19, 1989, pp. 19-20). He also
thought of the feeling of his wife, who was
inside the operating room waiting for the Herminda Cruz immediately rushed back,
doctor to arrive (ibid.). At almost 12:00 noon, and saw that the patient was still in
he met Dr. Garcia who remarked that he (Dr. trendelenburg position (TSN, January 13,
Garcia) was also tired of waiting for Dr. 1988, p. 20). At almost 3:00 P.M. of that
Hosaka to arrive (id., p. 21). While talking to fateful day, she saw the patient taken to the
Dr. Garcia at around 12:10 P.M., he came to Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
know that Dr. Hosaka arrived as a nurse
remarked, "Nandiyan na si Dr. Hosaka, About two days thereafter, Rogelio E.
dumating na raw." Upon hearing those Ramos was able to talk to Dr. Hosaka. The
words, he went down to the lobby and waited latter informed the former that something
for the operation to be completed (id., pp. 16, went wrong during the intubation. Reacting
29-30). to what was told to him, Rogelio reminded
the doctor that the condition of his wife would
At about 12:15 P.M., Herminda Cruz, who not have happened, had he (Dr. Hosaka)
was inside the operating room with the looked for a good anesthesiologist (TSN,
patient, heard somebody say that "Dr. October 19, 1989, p. 31).
Hosaka is already here." She then saw
people inside the operating room "moving, Doctors Gutierrez and Hosaka were also
doing this and that, [and] preparing the asked by the hospital to explain what
patient for the operation" (TSN, January 13, happened to the patient. The doctors
1988, p. 16). As she held the hand of Erlinda explained that the patient had
Ramos, she then saw Dr. Gutierrez bronchospasm (TSN, November 15, 1990,
intubating the hapless patient. She thereafter pp. 26-27).
heard Dr. Gutierrez say, "ang hirap ma-
intubate nito, mali yata ang pagkakapasok. Erlinda Ramos stayed at the ICU for a
O lumalaki ang tiyan" (id., p. 17). Because of month. About four months thereafter or on
the remarks of Dra. Gutierrez, she focused

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November 15, 1985, the patient was On the part of Dr. Perfecta Gutierrez, this
released from the hospital. Court finds that she omitted to exercise
reasonable care in not only intubating the
During the whole period of her confinement, patient, but also in not repeating the
she incurred hospital bills amounting to administration of atropine (TSN, August 20,
P93,542.25 which is the subject of a 1991, pp. 5-10), without due regard to the
promissory note and affidavit of undertaking fact that the patient was inside the operating
executed by Rogelio E. Ramos in favor of room for almost three (3) hours. For after she
DLSMC. Since that fateful afternoon of June committed a mistake in intubating [the]
17, 1985, she has been in a comatose patient, the patient's nailbed became bluish
condition. She cannot do anything. She and the patient, thereafter, was placed in
cannot move any part of her body. She trendelenburg position, because of the
cannot see or hear. She is living on decrease of blood supply to the patient's
mechanical means. She suffered brain brain. The evidence further shows that the
damage as a result of the absence of oxygen hapless patient suffered brain damage
in her brain for four to five minutes (TSN, because of the absence of oxygen in her
November 9, 1989, pp. 21-22). After being (patient's) brain for approximately four to five
discharged from the hospital, she has been minutes which, in turn, caused the patient to
staying in their residence, still needing become comatose.
constant medical attention, with her husband
Rogelio incurring a monthly expense ranging On the part of Dr. Orlino Hosaka, this Court
from P8,000.00 to P10,000.00 (TSN, finds that he is liable for the acts of Dr.
October 19, 1989, pp. 32-34). She was also Perfecta Gutierrez whom he had chosen to
diagnosed to be suffering from "diffuse administer anesthesia on the patient as part
cerebral parenchymal damage" (Exh. of his obligation to provide the patient a good
"G"; see also TSN, December 21, 1989, anesthesiologist', and for arriving for the
p. 6). 5 scheduled operation almost three (3) hours
late.
Thus, on 8 January 1986, petitioners filed a civil
case 6 for damages with the Regional Trial Court of On the part of DLSMC (the hospital), this
Quezon City against herein private respondents Court finds that it is liable for the acts of
alleging negligence in the management and care of negligence of the doctors in their "practice of
Erlinda Ramos. medicine" in the operating room. Moreover,
the hospital is liable for failing through its
During the trial, both parties presented evidence as responsible officials, to cancel the scheduled
to the possible cause of Erlinda's injury. Plaintiff operation after Dr. Hosaka inexcusably failed
presented the testimonies of Dean Herminda Cruz to arrive on time.
and Dr. Mariano Gavino to prove that the sustained
by Erlinda was due to lack of oxygen in her brain In having held thus, this Court rejects the
caused by the faulty management of her airway by defense raised by defendants that they have
private respondents during the anesthesia phase. On acted with due care and prudence in
the other hand, private respondents primarily relied rendering medical services to plaintiff-
on the expert testimony of Dr. Eduardo Jamora, a patient. For if the patient was properly
pulmonologist, to the effect that the cause of brain intubated as claimed by them, the patient
damage was Erlinda's allergic reaction to the would not have become comatose. And, the
anesthetic agent, Thiopental Sodium (Pentothal). fact that another anesthesiologist was called
to try to intubate the patient after her (the
After considering the evidence from both sides, the patient's) nailbed turned bluish, belie their
Regional Trial Court rendered judgment in favor of claim. Furthermore, the defendants should
petitioners, to wit: have rescheduled the operation to a later
date. This, they should have done, if
After evaluating the evidence as shown in defendants acted with due care and
prudence as the patient's case was an
the finding of facts set forth earlier, and
elective, not an emergency case.
applying the aforecited provisions of law and
jurisprudence to the case at bar, this Court
finds and so holds that defendants are liable xxx xxx xxx
to plaintiffs for damages. The defendants
were guilty of, at the very least, negligence in WHEREFORE, and in view of the foregoing,
the performance of their duty to plaintiff- judgment is rendered in favor of the plaintiffs
patient Erlinda Ramos. and against the defendants. Accordingly, the
latter are ordered to pay, jointly and

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severally, the former the following sums of contending that the period to file the appropriate
money, to wit: pleading on the assailed decision had not yet
commenced to run as the Division Clerk of Court of
1) the sum of P8,000.00 as actual the Court of Appeals had not yet served a copy
monthly expenses for the plaintiff thereof to the counsel on record. Despite this
Erlinda Ramos reckoned from explanation, the appellate court still denied the
November 15, 1985 or in the total motion to admit the motion for reconsideration of
sum of P632,000.00 as of April 15, petitioners in its Resolution, dated 29 March 1996,
1992, subject to its being updated; primarily on the ground that the fifteen-day (15)
period for filing a motion for reconsideration had
already expired, to wit:
2) the sum of P100,000.00 as
reasonable attorney's fees;
We said in our Resolution on July 25, 1995,
3) the sum of P800,000.00 by way of that the filing of a Motion for Reconsideration
cannot be extended; precisely, the Motion for
moral damages and the further sum
Extension (Rollo, p. 12) was denied. It is, on
of P200,000,00 by way of exemplary
the other hand, admitted in the latter Motion
damages; and,
that plaintiffs/appellees received a copy of
the decision as early as June 9, 1995.
4) the costs of the suit. Computation wise, the period to file a Motion
for Reconsideration expired on June 24. The
SO ORDERED. 7 Motion for Reconsideration, in turn, was
received by the Court of Appeals already on
Private respondents seasonably interposed an July 4, necessarily, the 15-day period
appeal to the Court of Appeals. The appellate court already passed. For that alone, the latter
rendered a Decision, dated 29 May 1995, reversing should be denied.
the findings of the trial court. The decretal portion of
the decision of the appellate court reads: Even assuming admissibility of the Motion
for the Reconsideration, but after
WHEREFORE, for the foregoing premises considering the Comment/Opposition, the
the appealed decision is hereby former, for lack of merit, is hereby DENIED.
REVERSED, and the complaint below
against the appellants is hereby ordered SO ORDERED. 10
DISMISSED. The counterclaim of appellant
De Los Santos Medical Center is GRANTED A copy of the above resolution was received by Atty.
but only insofar as appellees are hereby Sillano on 11 April 1996. The next day, or on 12 April
ordered to pay the unpaid hospital bills 1996, Atty. Sillano filed before this Court a motion for
amounting to P93,542.25, plus legal interest extension of time to file the present petition
for justice must be tempered with mercy. for certiorari under Rule 45. The Court granted the
motion for extension of time and gave petitioners
SO ORDERED. 8 additional thirty (30) days after the expiration of the
fifteen-day (15) period counted from the receipt of the
The decision of the Court of Appeals was received resolution of the Court of Appeals within which to
on 9 June 1995 by petitioner Rogelio Ramos who submit the petition. The due date fell on 27 May 1996.
was mistakenly addressed as "Atty. Rogelio Ramos." The petition was filed on 9 May 1996, well within the
No copy of the decision, however, was sent nor extended period given by the Court.
received by the Coronel Law Office, then counsel on
record of petitioners. Rogelio referred the decision of Petitioners assail the decision of the Court of Appeals
the appellate court to a new lawyer, Atty. Ligsay, only on the following grounds:
on 20 June 1995, or four (4) days before the
expiration of the reglementary period for filing a I
motion for reconsideration. On the same day, Atty.
Ligsay, filed with the appellate court a motion for
extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration. IN PUTTING MUCH RELIANCE ON THE
The motion for reconsideration was submitted on 4 TESTIMONIES OF RESPONDENTS DRA.
GUTIERREZ, DRA. CALDERON AND DR.
July 1995. However, the appellate court denied the
JAMORA;
motion for extension of time in its Resolution dated
25 July 1995. 9Meanwhile, petitioners engaged the
services of another counsel, Atty. Sillano, to replace II
Atty. Ligsay. Atty. Sillano filed on 7 August 1995 a
motion to admit the motion for reconsideration

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IN FINDING THAT THE NEGLIGENCE OF After resolving the foregoing procedural issue, we
THE RESPONDENTS DID NOT CAUSE shall now look into the merits of the case. For a more
THE UNFORTUNATE COMATOSE logical presentation of the discussion we shall first
CONDITION OF PETITIONER ERLINDA consider the issue on the applicability of the doctrine
RAMOS; of res ipsa loquitur to the instant case. Thereafter, the
first two assigned errors shall be tackled in relation to
III the res ipsa loquitur doctrine.

IN NOT APPLYING THE DOCTRINE Res ipsa loquitur is a Latin phrase which literally
OF RES IPSA LOQUITUR. 11 means "the thing or the transaction speaks for itself."
The phrase "res ipsa loquitur'' is a maxim for the rule
that the fact of the occurrence of an injury, taken with
Before we discuss the merits of the case, we shall
first dispose of the procedural issue on the timeliness the surrounding circumstances, may permit an
of the petition in relation to the motion for inference or raise a presumption of negligence, or
make out a plaintiff's prima facie case, and present a
reconsideration filed by petitioners with the Court of
question of fact for defendant to meet with an
Appeals. In their
explanation. 13 Where the thing which caused the
Comment, 12 private respondents contend that the
injury complained of is shown to be under the
petition should not be given due course since the
motion for reconsideration of the petitioners on the management of the defendant or his servants and
decision of the Court of Appeals was validly the accident is such as in ordinary course of things
does not happen if those who have its management
dismissed by the appellate court for having been filed
or control use proper care, it affords reasonable
beyond the reglementary period. We do not agree.
evidence, in the absence of explanation by the
defendant, that the accident arose from or was
A careful review of the records reveals that the caused by the defendant's want of care. 14
reason behind the delay in filing the motion for
reconsideration is attributable to the fact that the
The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is simply a
decision of the Court of Appeals was not sent to then
recognition of the postulate that, as a matter of
counsel on record of petitioners, the Coronel Law
Office. In fact, a copy of the decision of the appellate common knowledge and experience, the very nature
court was instead sent to and received by petitioner of certain types of occurrences may justify an
inference of negligence on the part of the person who
Rogelio Ramos on 9 June 1995 wherein he was
controls the instrumentality causing the injury in the
mistakenly addressed as Atty. Rogelio Ramos.
absence of some explanation by the defendant who
Based on the other communications received by
is charged with negligence. 15 It is grounded in the
petitioner Rogelio Ramos, the appellate court
apparently mistook him for the counsel on record. superior logic of ordinary human experience and on
Thus, no copy of the decision of the counsel on the basis of such experience or common knowledge,
negligence may be deduced from the mere
record. Petitioner, not being a lawyer and unaware of
occurrence of the accident itself. 16 Hence, res ipsa
the prescriptive period for filing a motion for
loquitur is applied in conjunction with the doctrine of
reconsideration, referred the same to a legal counsel
common knowledge.
only on 20 June 1995.

However, much has been said that res ipsa


It is elementary that when a party is represented by
loquitur is not a rule of substantive law and, as such,
counsel, all notices should be sent to the party's
does not create or constitute an independent or
lawyer at his given address. With a few exceptions,
separate ground of liability. 17 Instead, it is
notice to a litigant without notice to his counsel on
record is no notice at all. In the present case, since a considered as merely evidentiary or in the nature of
a procedural rule. 18 It is regarded as a mode of proof,
copy of the decision of the appellate court was not
or a mere procedural of convenience since it
sent to the counsel on record of petitioner, there can
furnishes a substitute for, and relieves a plaintiff of,
be no sufficient notice to speak of. Hence, the delay
the burden of producing specific proof of
in the filing of the motion for reconsideration cannot
be taken against petitioner. Moreover, since the negligence. 19 In other words, mere invocation and
Court of Appeals already issued a second application of the doctrine does not dispense with the
requirement of proof of negligence. It is simply a step
Resolution, dated 29 March 1996, which superseded
in the process of such proof, permitting the plaintiff to
the earlier resolution issued on 25 July 1995, and
present along with the proof of the accident, enough
denied the motion for reconsideration of petitioner,
of the attending circumstances to invoke the doctrine,
we believed that the receipt of the former should be
considered in determining the timeliness of the filing creating an inference or presumption of negligence,
of the present petition. Based on this, the petition and to thereby place on the defendant the burden of
going forward with the proof. 20 Still, before resort to
before us was submitted on time.
the doctrine may be allowed, the following requisites
must be satisfactorily shown:

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1. The accident is of a kind which ordinarily to the patient if due care had been exercised, an
does not occur in the absence of someone's inference of negligence may be drawn giving rise to
negligence; an application of the doctrine of res ipsa
loquitur without medical evidence, which is ordinarily
2. It is caused by an instrumentality within the required to show not only what occurred but how and
exclusive control of the defendant or why it occurred. 31 When the doctrine is appropriate,
defendants; and all that the patient must do is prove a nexus between
the particular act or omission complained of and the
3. The possibility of contributing conduct injury sustained while under the custody and
management of the defendant without need to
which would make the plaintiff responsible is
produce expert medical testimony to establish the
eliminated. 21
standard of care. Resort to res ipsa loquitur is
allowed because there is no other way, under usual
In the above requisites, the fundamental element is and ordinary conditions, by which the patient can
the "control of instrumentality" which caused the obtain redress for injury suffered by him.
damage. 22Such element of control must be shown to
be within the dominion of the defendant. In order to
Thus, courts of other jurisdictions have applied the
have the benefit of the rule, a plaintiff, in addition to
doctrine in the following situations: leaving of a
proving injury or damage, must show a situation
where it is applicable, and must establish that the foreign object in the body of the patient after an
essential elements of the doctrine were present in a operation, 32 injuries sustained on a healthy part of
the body which was not under, or in the area, of
particular incident. 23
treatment, 33 removal of the wrong part of the body
when another part was intended, 34 knocking out a
Medical malpractice 24 cases do not escape the tooth while a patient's jaw was under anesthetic for
application of this doctrine. Thus, res ipsa the removal of his tonsils, 35 and loss of an eye while
loquitur has been applied when the circumstances the patient plaintiff was under the influence of
attendant upon the harm are themselves of such a anesthetic, during or following an operation for
character as to justify an inference of negligence as appendicitis, 36 among others.
the cause of that harm. 25 The application of res ipsa
loquitur in medical negligence cases presents a
Nevertheless, despite the fact that the scope of res
question of law since it is a judicial function to
ipsa loquitur has been measurably enlarged, it does
determine whether a certain set of circumstances
not automatically apply to all cases of medical
does, as a matter of law, permit a given inference. 26
negligence as to mechanically shift the burden of
proof to the defendant to show that he is not guilty of
Although generally, expert medical testimony is the ascribed negligence. Res ipsa loquitur is not a
relied upon in malpractice suits to prove that a rigid or ordinary doctrine to be perfunctorily used but
physician has done a negligent act or that he has a rule to be cautiously applied, depending upon the
deviated from the standard medical procedure, when circumstances of each case. It is generally restricted
the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is availed by the to situations in malpractice cases where a layman is
plaintiff, the need for expert medical testimony is able to say, as a matter of common knowledge and
dispensed with because the injury itself provides the observation, that the consequences of professional
proof of negligence. 27 The reason is that the general care were not as such as would ordinarily have
rule on the necessity of expert testimony applies only followed if due care had been
to such matters clearly within the domain of medical exercised. 37 A distinction must be made between the
science, and not to matters that are within the failure to secure results, and the occurrence of
common knowledge of mankind which may be something more unusual and not ordinarily found if
testified to by anyone familiar with the the service or treatment rendered followed the usual
facts. 28 Ordinarily, only physicians and surgeons of procedure of those skilled in that particular practice.
skill and experience are competent to testify as to It must be conceded that the doctrine of res ipsa
whether a patient has been treated or operated upon loquitur can have no application in a suit against a
with a reasonable degree of skill and care. However, physician or surgeon which involves the merits of a
testimony as to the statements and acts of physicians diagnosis or of a scientific treatment. 38 The
and surgeons, external appearances, and manifest physician or surgeon is not required at his peril to
conditions which are observable by any one may be explain why any particular diagnosis was not correct,
given by non-expert witnesses. 29 Hence, in cases or why any particular scientific treatment did not
where the res ipsa loquitur is applicable, the court is produce the desired result. 39 Thus, res ipsa
permitted to find a physician negligent upon proper loquitur is not available in a malpractice suit if the
proof of injury to the patient, without the aid of expert only showing is that the desired result of an operation
testimony, where the court from its fund of common or treatment was not accomplished. 40The real
knowledge can determine the proper standard of question, therefore, is whether or not in the process
care. 30 Where common knowledge and experience of the operation any extraordinary incident or unusual
teach that a resulting injury would not have occurred event outside of the routine performance occurred

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which is beyond the regular scope of customary Indeed, the principles enunciated in the aforequoted
professional activity in such operations, which, if case apply with equal force here. In the present case,
unexplained would themselves reasonably speak to Erlinda submitted herself for cholecystectomy and
the average man as the negligent cause or causes of expected a routine general surgery to be performed
the untoward consequence. 41 If there was such on her gall bladder. On that fateful day she delivered
extraneous interventions, the doctrine of res ipsa her person over to the care, custody and control of
loquitur may be utilized and the defendant is called private respondents who exercised complete and
upon to explain the matter, by evidence of exclusive control over her. At the time of submission,
exculpation, if he could. 42 Erlinda was neurologically sound and, except for a
few minor discomforts, was likewise physically fit in
We find the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur appropriate mind and body. However, during the administration
in the case at bar. As will hereinafter be explained, of anesthesia and prior to the performance of
the damage sustained by Erlinda in her brain prior to cholecystectomy she suffered irreparable damage to
a scheduled gall bladder operation presents a case her brain. Thus, without undergoing surgery, she
for the application of res ipsa loquitur. went out of the operating room already decerebrate
and totally incapacitated. Obviously, brain damage,
A case strikingly similar to the one before us is Voss which Erlinda sustained, is an injury which does not
vs. Bridwell, 43 where the Kansas Supreme Court in normally occur in the process of a gall bladder
applying the res ipsa loquitur stated: operation. In fact, this kind of situation does not in the
absence of negligence of someone in the
administration of anesthesia and in the use of
The plaintiff herein submitted himself for a endotracheal tube. Normally, a person being put
mastoid operation and delivered his person under anesthesia is not rendered decerebrate as a
over to the care, custody and control of his consequence of administering such anesthesia if the
physician who had complete and exclusive proper procedure was followed. Furthermore, the
control over him, but the operation was never instruments used in the administration of anesthesia,
performed. At the time of submission he was including the endotracheal tube, were all under the
neurologically sound and physically fit in exclusive control of private respondents, who are the
mind and body, but he suffered irreparable physicians-in-charge. Likewise, petitioner Erlinda
damage and injury rendering him could not have been guilty of contributory negligence
decerebrate and totally incapacitated. The because she was under the influence of anesthetics
injury was one which does not ordinarily which rendered her unconscious.
occur in the process of a mastoid operation
or in the absence of negligence in the
Considering that a sound and unaffected member of
administration of an anesthetic, and in the
the body (the brain) is injured or destroyed while the
use and employment of an endoctracheal
tube. Ordinarily a person being put under patient is unconscious and under the immediate and
anesthesia is not rendered decerebrate as a exclusive control of the physicians, we hold that a
practical administration of justice dictates the
consequence of administering such
application of res ipsa loquitur. Upon these facts and
anesthesia in the absence of negligence.
under these circumstances the Court would be able
Upon these facts and under these
to say, as a matter of common knowledge and
circumstances a layman would be able to
say, as a matter of common knowledge and observation, if negligence attended the management
and care of the patient. Moreover, the liability of the
observation, that the consequences of
physicians and the hospital in this case is not
professional treatment were not as such as
predicated upon an alleged failure to secure the
would ordinarily have followed if due care
desired results of an operation nor on an alleged lack
had been exercised.
of skill in the diagnosis or treatment as in fact no
operation or treatment was ever performed on
Here the plaintiff could not have been guilty Erlinda. Thus, upon all these initial determination a
of contributory negligence because he was case is made out for the application of the doctrine
under the influence of anesthetics and of res ipsa loquitur.
unconscious, and the circumstances are
such that the true explanation of event is
Nonetheless, in holding that res ipsa loquitur is
more accessible to the defendants than to
available to the present case we are not saying that
the plaintiff for they had the exclusive control
the doctrine is applicable in any and all cases where
of the instrumentalities of anesthesia.
injury occurs to a patient while under anesthesia, or
to any and all anesthesia cases. Each case must be
Upon all the facts, conditions and viewed in its own light and scrutinized in order to be
circumstances alleged in Count II it is held within the res ipsa loquitur coverage.
that a cause of action is stated under the
doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. 44

7
Having in mind the applicability of the res ipsa room right beside the patient when the tragic event
loquitur doctrine and the presumption of negligence occurred. Witness Cruz testified to this effect:
allowed therein, the Court now comes to the issue of
whether the Court of Appeals erred in finding that ATTY. PAJARES:
private respondents were not negligent in the care of
Erlinda during the anesthesia phase of the operation
Q: In particular, what did Dra. Perfecta
and, if in the affirmative, whether the alleged
Gutierrez do, if any on the patient?
negligence was the proximate cause of Erlinda's
comatose condition. Corollary thereto, we shall also
determine if the Court of Appeals erred in relying on A: In particular, I could see that she was
the testimonies of the witnesses for the private intubating the patient.
respondents.
Q: Do you know what happened to that
In sustaining the position of private respondents, the intubation process administered by Dra.
Court of Appeals relied on the testimonies of Dra. Gutierrez?
Gutierrez, Dra. Calderon and Dr. Jamora. In giving
weight to the testimony of Dra. Gutierrez, the Court ATTY. ALCERA:
of Appeals rationalized that she was candid enough
to admit that she experienced some difficulty in the She will be incompetent Your Honor.
endotracheal intubation 45 of the patient and thus,
cannot be said to be covering her negligence with COURT:
falsehood. The appellate court likewise opined that
private respondents were able to show that the brain
Witness may answer if she knows.
damage sustained by Erlinda was not caused by the
alleged faulty intubation but was due to the allergic
reaction of the patient to the drug Thiopental Sodium A: As have said, I was with the patient, I was
(Pentothal), a short-acting barbiturate, as testified on beside the stretcher holding the left hand of
by their expert witness, Dr. Jamora. On the other the patient and all of a sudden heard some
hand, the appellate court rejected the testimony of remarks coming from Dra. Perfecta
Dean Herminda Cruz offered in favor of petitioners Gutierrez herself. She was saying "Ang hirap
that the cause of the brain injury was traceable to the ma-intubate nito, mali yata ang
wrongful insertion of the tube since the latter, being a pagkakapasok. O lumalaki ang tiyan.
nurse, was allegedly not knowledgeable in the
process of intubation. In so holding, the appellate xxx xxx xxx
court returned a verdict in favor of respondents
physicians and hospital and absolved them of any ATTY. PAJARES:
liability towards Erlinda and her family.
Q: From whom did you hear those words
We disagree with the findings of the Court of "lumalaki ang tiyan"?
Appeals. We hold that private respondents were
unable to disprove the presumption of negligence on A: From Dra. Perfecta Gutierrez.
their part in the care of Erlinda and their negligence
was the proximate cause of her piteous condition.
xxx xxx xxx
In the instant case, the records are helpful in
furnishing not only the logical scientific evidence of Q: After hearing the phrase "lumalaki ang
the pathogenesis of the injury but also in providing tiyan," what did you notice on the person of
the Court the legal nexus upon which liability is the patient?
based. As will be shown hereinafter, private
respondents' own testimonies which are reflected in A: I notice (sic) some bluish discoloration on
the transcript of stenographic notes are replete of the nailbeds of the left hand where I was at.
signposts indicative of their negligence in the care
and management of Erlinda. Q: Where was Dr. Orlino Ho[s]aka then at
that particular time?
With regard to Dra. Gutierrez, we find her negligent
in the care of Erlinda during the anesthesia phase. A: I saw him approaching the patient during
As borne by the records, respondent Dra. Gutierrez that time.
failed to properly intubate the patient. This fact was
attested to by Prof. Herminda Cruz, Dean of the Q: When he approached the patient, what
Capitol Medical Center School of Nursing and did he do, if any?
petitioner's sister-in-law, who was in the operating

8
A: He made an order to call on the layman in the process of intubation, witness Cruz is
anesthesiologist in the person of Dr. not competent to testify on whether or not the
Calderon. intubation was a success.

Q: Did Dr. Calderon, upon being called, We do not agree with the above reasoning of the
arrive inside the operating room? appellate court. Although witness Cruz is not an
anesthesiologist, she can very well testify upon
A: Yes sir. matters on which she is capable of observing such
as, the statements and acts of the physician and
surgeon, external appearances, and manifest
Q: What did [s]he do, if any?
conditions which are observable by any one. 48 This
is precisely allowed under the doctrine of res ipsa
A: [S]he tried to intubate the patient. loquitur where the testimony of expert witnesses is
not required. It is the accepted rule that expert
Q: What happened to the patient? testimony is not necessary for the proof of negligence
in non-technical matters or those of which an
A: When Dr. Calderon try (sic) to intubate the ordinary person may be expected to have
patient, after a while the patient's nailbed knowledge, or where the lack of skill or want of care
became bluish and I saw the patient was is so obvious as to render expert testimony
placed in trendelenburg position. unnecessary. 49 We take judicial notice of the fact
that anesthesia procedures have become so
xxx xxx xxx common, that even an ordinary person can tell if it
was administered properly. As such, it would not be
too difficult to tell if the tube was properly inserted.
Q: Do you know the reason why the patient
This kind of observation, we believe, does not require
was placed in that trendelenburg position?
a medical degree to be acceptable.

A: As far as I know, when a patient is in that


At any rate, without doubt, petitioner's witness, an
position, there is a decrease of blood supply
experienced clinical nurse whose long experience
to the brain. 46
and scholarship led to her appointment as Dean of
the Capitol Medical Center School at Nursing, was
xxx xxx xxx fully capable of determining whether or not the
intubation was a success. She had extensive clinical
The appellate court, however, disbelieved Dean experience starting as a staff nurse in Chicago,
Cruz's testimony in the trial court by declaring that: Illinois; staff nurse and clinical instructor in a teaching
hospital, the FEU-NRMF; Dean of the Laguna
A perusal of the standard nursing curriculum College of Nursing in San Pablo City; and then Dean
in our country will show that intubation is not of the Capitol Medical Center School of
taught as part of nursing procedures and Nursing. 50Reviewing witness Cruz' statements, we
techniques. Indeed, we take judicial notice of find that the same were delivered in a straightforward
the fact that nurses do not, and cannot, manner, with the kind of detail, clarity, consistency
intubate. Even on the assumption that she is and spontaneity which would have been difficult to
fully capable of determining whether or not a fabricate. With her clinical background as a nurse,
patient is properly intubated, witness the Court is satisfied that she was able to
Herminda Cruz, admittedly, did not peep into demonstrate through her testimony what truly
the throat of the patient. (TSN, July 25, 1991, transpired on that fateful day.
p. 13). More importantly, there is no
evidence that she ever auscultated the Most of all, her testimony was affirmed by no less
patient or that she conducted any type of than respondent Dra. Gutierrez who admitted that
examination to check if the endotracheal she experienced difficulty in inserting the tube into
tube was in its proper place, and to Erlinda's trachea, to wit:
determine the condition of the heart, lungs,
and other organs. Thus, witness Cruz's ATTY. LIGSAY:
categorical statements that appellant Dra.
Gutierrez failed to intubate the appellee
Q: In this particular case, Doctora, while you
Erlinda Ramos and that it was Dra. Calderon
were intubating at your first attempt (sic), you
who succeeded in doing so clearly suffer
did not immediately see the trachea?
from lack of sufficient factual bases. 47
DRA. GUTIERREZ:
In other words, what the Court of Appeals is trying to
impress is that being a nurse, and considered a
A: Yes sir.

9
Q: Did you pull away the tube immediately? assessment indicates possible problems (such as
the alleged short neck and protruding teeth of
A: You do not pull the . . . Erlinda) a thorough examination of the patient's
airway would go a long way towards decreasing
patient morbidity and mortality.
Q: Did you or did you not?

A: I did not pull the tube. In the case at bar, respondent Dra. Gutierrez
admitted that she saw Erlinda for the first time on the
day of the operation itself, on 17 June 1985. Before
Q: When you said "mahirap yata ito," what this date, no prior consultations with, or pre-operative
were you referring to? evaluation of Erlinda was done by her. Until the day
of the operation, respondent Dra. Gutierrez was
A: "Mahirap yata itong i-intubate," that was unaware of the physiological make-up and needs of
the patient. Erlinda. She was likewise not properly informed of
the possible difficulties she would face during the
Q: So, you found some difficulty in inserting administration of anesthesia to Erlinda. Respondent
the tube? Dra. Gutierrez' act of seeing her patient for the first
time only an hour before the scheduled operative
A: Yes, because of (sic) my first attempt, I did procedure was, therefore, an act of exceptional
not see right away. 51 negligence and professional irresponsibility. The
measures cautioning prudence and vigilance in
dealing with human lives lie at the core of the
Curiously in the case at bar, respondent Dra.
physician's centuries-old Hippocratic Oath. Her
Gutierrez made the haphazard defense that she
failure to follow this medical procedure is, therefore,
encountered hardship in the insertion of the tube in
a clear indicia of her negligence.
the trachea of Erlinda because it was positioned
more anteriorly (slightly deviated from the normal
anatomy of a person) 52 making it harder to locate Respondent Dra. Gutierrez, however, attempts to
and, since Erlinda is obese and has a short neck and gloss over this omission by playing around with the
protruding teeth, it made intubation even more trial court's ignorance of clinical procedure, hoping
difficult. that she could get away with it. Respondent Dra.
Gutierrez tried to muddle the difference between an
elective surgery and an emergency surgery just so
The argument does not convince us. If this was
her failure to perform the required pre-operative
indeed observed, private respondents adduced no
evaluation would escape unnoticed. In her testimony
evidence demonstrating that they proceeded to make
she asserted:
a thorough assessment of Erlinda's airway, prior to
the induction of anesthesia, even if this would mean
postponing the procedure. From their testimonies, it ATTY. LIGSAY:
appears that the observation was made only as an
afterthought, as a means of defense. Q: Would you agree, Doctor, that it is good
medical practice to see the patient a day
The pre-operative evaluation of a patient prior to the before so you can introduce yourself to
administration of anesthesia is universally observed establish good doctor-patient relationship
to lessen the possibility of anesthetic accidents. Pre- and gain the trust and confidence of the
operative evaluation and preparation for anesthesia patient?
begins when the anesthesiologist reviews the
patient's medical records and visits with the patient, DRA. GUTIERREZ:
traditionally, the day before elective surgery. 53 It
includes taking the patient's medical history, review A: As I said in my previous statement, it
of current drug therapy, physical examination and depends on the operative procedure of the
interpretation of laboratory data. 54 The physical anesthesiologist and in my case, with
examination performed by the anesthesiologist is elective cases and normal cardio-pulmonary
directed primarily toward the central nervous system, clearance like that, I usually don't do it except
cardiovascular system, lungs and upper airway. 55 A on emergency and on cases that have an
thorough analysis of the patient's airway normally abnormalities (sic). 58
involves investigating the following: cervical spine
mobility, temporomandibular mobility, prominent However, the exact opposite is true. In an emergency
central incisors, diseased or artificial teeth, ability to procedure, there is hardly enough time available for
visualize uvula and the thyromental distance. 56Thus, the fastidious demands of pre-operative procedure
physical characteristics of the patient's upper airway so that an anesthesiologist is able to see the patient
that could make tracheal intubation difficult should be only a few minutes before surgery, if at all. Elective
studied. 57 Where the need arises, as when initial procedures, on the other hand, are operative

10
procedures that can wait for days, weeks or even further supported by his own admission that he
months. Hence, in these cases, the anesthesiologist formulated his opinions on the drug not from the
possesses the luxury of time to be at the patient's practical experience gained by a specialist or expert
beside to do a proper interview and clinical in the administration and use of Sodium Pentothal on
evaluation. There is ample time to explain the patients, but only from reading certain references, to
method of anesthesia, the drugs to be used, and their wit:
possible hazards for purposes of informed consent.
Usually, the pre-operative assessment is conducted ATTY. LIGSAY:
at least one day before the intended surgery, when
the patient is relaxed and cooperative.
Q: In your line of expertise on pulmonology,
did you have any occasion to use pentothal
Erlinda's case was elective and this was known to as a method of management?
respondent Dra. Gutierrez. Thus, she had all the time
to make a thorough evaluation of Erlinda's case prior DR. JAMORA:
to the operation and prepare her for anesthesia.
However, she never saw the patient at the bedside.
She herself admitted that she had seen petitioner A: We do it in conjunction with the
only in the operating room, and only on the actual anesthesiologist when they have to intubate
date of the cholecystectomy. She negligently failed to our patient.
take advantage of this important opportunity. As
such, her attempt to exculpate herself must fail. Q: But not in particular when you practice
pulmonology?
Having established that respondent Dra. Gutierrez
failed to perform pre-operative evaluation of the A: No.
patient which, in turn, resulted to a wrongful
intubation, we now determine if the faulty intubation Q: In other words, your knowledge about
is truly the proximate cause of Erlinda's comatose pentothal is based only on what you have
condition. read from books and not by your own
personal application of the medicine
Private respondents repeatedly hammered the view pentothal?
that the cerebral anoxia which led to Erlinda's coma
was due to bronchospasm 59 mediated by her allergic A: Based on my personal experience also on
response to the drug, Thiopental Sodium, introduced pentothal.
into her system. Towards this end, they presented
Dr. Jamora, a Fellow of the Philippine College of Q: How many times have you used
Physicians and Diplomate of the Philippine Specialty pentothal?
Board of Internal Medicine, who advanced private
respondents' theory that the oxygen deprivation
A: They used it on me. I went into
which led to anoxic encephalopathy, 60 was due to an
bronchospasm during my appendectomy.
unpredictable drug reaction to the short-acting
barbiturate. We find the theory of private respondents
unacceptable. Q: And because they have used it on you
and on account of your own personal
experience you feel that you can testify on
First of all, Dr. Jamora cannot be considered an
pentothal here with medical authority?
authority in the field of anesthesiology simply
because he is not an anesthesiologist. Since Dr.
Jamora is a pulmonologist, he could not have been A: No. That is why I used references to
capable of properly enlightening the court about support my claims. 61
anesthesia practice and procedure and their
complications. Dr. Jamora is likewise not an An anesthetic accident caused by a rare drug-
allergologist and could not therefore properly induced bronchospasm properly falls within the fields
advance expert opinion on allergic-mediated of anesthesia, internal medicine-allergy, and clinical
processes. Moreover, he is not a pharmacologist pharmacology. The resulting anoxic encephalopathy
and, as such, could not have been capable, as an belongs to the field of neurology. While admittedly,
expert would, of explaining to the court the many bronchospastic-mediated pulmonary diseases
pharmacologic and toxic effects of the supposed are within the expertise of pulmonary medicine, Dr.
culprit, Thiopental Sodium (Pentothal). Jamora's field, the anesthetic drug-induced, allergic
mediated bronchospasm alleged in this case is within
The inappropriateness and absurdity of accepting Dr. the disciplines of anesthesiology, allergology and
Jamora's testimony as an expert witness in the pharmacology. On the basis of the foregoing
anesthetic practice of Pentothal administration is transcript, in which the pulmonologist himself

11
admitted that he could not testify about the drug with appears from the evidence in the case, that the act
medical authority, it is clear that the appellate court or omission played a substantial part in bringing
erred in giving weight to Dr. Jamora's testimony as about or actually causing the injury or damage; and
an expert in the administration of Thiopental Sodium. that the injury or damage was either a direct result or
a reasonably probable consequence of the act or
The provision in the rules of evidence 62 regarding omission. 65 It is the dominant, moving or producing
expert witnesses states: cause.

Sec. 49. Opinion of expert witness. — The Applying the above definition in relation to the
opinion of a witness on a matter requiring evidence at hand, faulty intubation is undeniably the
special knowledge, skill, experience or proximate cause which triggered the chain of events
training which he is shown to possess, may leading to Erlinda's brain damage and, ultimately, her
be received in evidence. comatosed condition.

Generally, to qualify as an expert witness, one must Private respondents themselves admitted in their
have acquired special knowledge of the subject testimony that the first intubation was a failure. This
matter about which he or she is to testify, either by fact was likewise observed by witness Cruz when
the study of recognized authorities on the subject or she heard respondent Dra. Gutierrez remarked, "Ang
by practical experience. 63Clearly, Dr. Jamora does hirap ma-intubate nito, mali yata ang pagkakapasok.
not qualify as an expert witness based on the above O lumalaki ang tiyan." Thereafter, witness Cruz
standard since he lacks the necessary knowledge, noticed abdominal distention on the body of Erlinda.
skill, and training in the field of anesthesiology. The development of abdominal distention, together
Oddly, apart from submitting testimony from a with respiratory embarrassment indicates that the
specialist in the wrong field, private respondents' endotracheal tube entered the esophagus instead of
intentionally avoided providing testimony by the respiratory tree. In other words, instead of the
competent and independent experts in the proper intended endotracheal intubation what actually took
areas. place was an esophageal intubation. During
intubation, such distention indicates that air has
Moreover, private respondents' theory, that entered the gastrointestinal tract through the
Thiopental Sodium may have produced Erlinda's esophagus instead of the lungs through the trachea.
Entry into the esophagus would certainly cause some
coma by triggering an allergic mediated response,
delay in oxygen delivery into the lungs as the tube
has no support in evidence. No evidence of stridor,
which carries oxygen is in the wrong place. That
skin reactions, or wheezing — some of the more
abdominal distention had been observed during the
common accompanying signs of an allergic reaction
— appears on record. No laboratory data were ever first intubation suggests that the length of time
presented to the court. utilized in inserting the endotracheal tube (up to the
time the tube was withdrawn for the second attempt)
was fairly significant. Due to the delay in the delivery
In any case, private respondents themselves admit of oxygen in her lungs Erlinda showed signs of
that Thiopental induced, allergic-mediated cyanosis. 66 As stated in the testimony of Dr. Hosaka,
bronchospasm happens only very rarely. If courts the lack of oxygen became apparent only after he
were to accept private respondents' hypothesis noticed that the nailbeds of Erlinda were already
without supporting medical proof, and against the blue. 67 However, private respondents contend that a
weight of available evidence, then every anesthetic second intubation was executed on Erlinda and this
accident would be an act of God. Evidently, the one was successfully done. We do not think so. No
Thiopental-allergy theory vigorously asserted by evidence exists on record, beyond private
private respondents was a mere afterthought. Such respondents' bare claims, which supports the
an explanation was advanced in order to advanced contention that the second intubation was
in order to absolve them of any and all responsibility successful. Assuming that the endotracheal tube
for the patient's condition. finally found its way into the proper orifice of the
trachea, the same gave no guarantee of oxygen
In view of the evidence at hand, we are inclined to delivery, the hallmark of a successful intubation. In
believe petitioners' stand that it was the faulty fact, cyanosis was again observed immediately after
intubation which was the proximate cause of the second intubation. Proceeding from this event
Erlinda's comatose condition. (cyanosis), it could not be claimed, as private
respondents insist, that the second intubation was
Proximate cause has been defined as that which, in accomplished. Even granting that the tube was
natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any successfully inserted during the second attempt, it
efficient intervening cause, produces injury, and was obviously too late. As aptly explained by the trial
without which the result would not have court, Erlinda already suffered brain damage as a
occurred. 64 An injury or damage is proximately result of the inadequate oxygenation of her brain for
caused by an act or a failure to act, whenever it about four to five minutes. 68

12
The above conclusion is not without basis. Scientific In the first place, hospitals exercise significant control
studies point out that intubation problems are in the hiring and firing of consultants and in the
responsible for one-third (1/3) of deaths and serious conduct of their work within the hospital premises.
injuries associated with anesthesia. 69 Nevertheless, Doctors who apply for "consultant" slots, visiting or
ninety-eight percent (98%) or the vast majority of attending, are required to submit proof of completion
difficult intubations may be anticipated by performing of residency, their educational qualifications;
a thorough evaluation of the patient's airway prior to generally, evidence of accreditation by the
the operation. 70 As stated beforehand, respondent appropriate board (diplomate), evidence of fellowship
Dra. Gutierrez failed to observe the proper pre- in most cases, and references. These requirements
operative protocol which could have prevented this are carefully scrutinized by members of the hospital
unfortunate incident. Had appropriate diligence and administration or by a review committee set up by the
reasonable care been used in the pre-operative hospital who either accept or reject the
evaluation, respondent physician could have been application. 75 This is particularly true with
much more prepared to meet the contingency respondent hospital.
brought about by the perceived anatomic variations
in the patient's neck and oral area, defects which After a physician is accepted, either as a visiting or
would have been easily overcome by a prior attending consultant, he is normally required to
knowledge of those variations together with a change attend clinico-pathological conferences, conduct
in technique. 71 In other words, an experienced bedside rounds for clerks, interns and residents,
anesthesiologist, adequately alerted by a thorough moderate grand rounds and patient audits and
pre-operative evaluation, would have had little perform other tasks and responsibilities, for the
difficulty going around the short neck and protruding privilege of being able to maintain a clinic in the
teeth. 72 Having failed to observe common medical hospital, and/or for the privilege of admitting patients
standards in pre-operative management and into the hospital. In addition to these, the physician's
intubation, respondent Dra. Gutierrez' negligence performance as a specialist is generally evaluated by
resulted in cerebral anoxia and eventual coma of a peer review committee on the basis of mortality and
Erlinda. morbidity statistics, and feedback from patients,
nurses, interns and residents. A consultant remiss in
We now determine the responsibility of respondent his duties, or a consultant who regularly falls short of
Dr. Orlino Hosaka as the head of the surgical team. the minimum standards acceptable to the hospital or
As the so-called "captain of the ship," 73 it is the its peer review committee, is normally politely
surgeon's responsibility to see to it that those under terminated.
him perform their task in the proper manner.
Respondent Dr. Hosaka's negligence can be found In other words, private hospitals, hire, fire and
in his failure to exercise the proper authority (as the exercise real control over their attending and visiting
"captain" of the operative team) in not determining if "consultant" staff. While "consultants" are not,
his anesthesiologist observed proper anesthesia technically employees, a point which respondent
protocols. In fact, no evidence on record exists to hospital asserts in denying all responsibility for the
show that respondent Dr. Hosaka verified if patient's condition, the control exercised, the hiring,
respondent Dra. Gutierrez properly intubated the and the right to terminate consultants all fulfill the
patient. Furthermore, it does not escape us that important hallmarks of an employer-employee
respondent Dr. Hosaka had scheduled another relationship, with the exception of the payment of
procedure in a different hospital at the same time as wages. In assessing whether such a relationship in
Erlinda's cholecystectomy, and was in fact over three fact exists, the control test is determining.
hours late for the latter's operation. Because of this, Accordingly, on the basis of the foregoing, we rule
he had little or no time to confer with his that for the purpose of allocating responsibility in
anesthesiologist regarding the anesthesia delivery. medical negligence cases, an employer-employee
This indicates that he was remiss in his professional relationship in effect exists between hospitals and
duties towards his patient. Thus, he shares equal their attending and visiting physicians. This being the
responsibility for the events which resulted in case, the question now arises as to whether or not
Erlinda's condition. respondent hospital is solidarily liable with
respondent doctors for petitioner's condition. 76
We now discuss the responsibility of the hospital in
this particular incident. The unique practice (among The basis for holding an employer solidarily
private hospitals) of filling up specialist staff with responsible for the negligence of its employee is
attending and visiting "consultants," 74 who are found in Article 2180 of the Civil Code which
allegedly not hospital employees, presents problems considers a person accountable not only for his own
in apportioning responsibility for negligence in acts but also for those of others based on the
medical malpractice cases. However, the difficulty is former's responsibility under a relationship of patria
only more apparent than real. potestas. 77 Such responsibility ceases when the
persons or entity concerned prove that they have

13
observed the diligence of a good father of the family provide her with the correct daily caloric
to prevent damage. 78 In other words, while the requirements and vitamin supplements.
burden of proving negligence rests on the plaintiffs, Furthermore, she has to be seen on a regular basis
once negligence is shown, the burden shifts to the by a physical therapist to avoid muscle atrophy, and
respondents (parent, guardian, teacher or employer) by a pulmonary therapist to prevent the accumulation
who should prove that they observed the diligence of of secretions which can lead to respiratory
a good father of a family to prevent damage. complications.

In the instant case, respondent hospital, apart from a Given these considerations, the amount of actual
general denial of its responsibility over respondent damages recoverable in suits arising from
physicians, failed to adduce evidence showing that it negligence should at least reflect the correct
exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in minimum cost of proper care, not the cost of the care
the hiring and supervision of the latter. It failed to the family is usually compelled to undertake at home
adduce evidence with regard to the degree of to avoid bankruptcy. However, the provisions of the
supervision which it exercised over its physicians. In Civil Code on actual or compensatory damages
neglecting to offer such proof, or proof of a similar present us with some difficulties.
nature, respondent hospital thereby failed to
discharge its burden under the last paragraph of Well-settled is the rule that actual damages which
Article 2180. Having failed to do this, respondent may be claimed by the plaintiff are those suffered by
hospital is consequently solidarily responsible with its him as he has duly proved. The Civil Code provides:
physicians for Erlinda's condition.
Art. 2199. — Except as provided by law or by
Based on the foregoing, we hold that the Court of stipulation, one is entitled to an adequate
Appeals erred in accepting and relying on the compensation only for such pecuniary loss
testimonies of the witnesses for the private suffered by him as he has duly proved. Such
respondents. Indeed, as shown by the above compensation is referred to as actual or
discussions, private respondents were unable to compensatory damages.
rebut the presumption of negligence. Upon these
disquisitions we hold that private respondents are Our rules on actual or compensatory damages
solidarily liable for damages under Article 2176 79 of generally assume that at the time of litigation, the
the Civil Code.
injury suffered as a consequence of an act of
negligence has been completed and that the cost can
We now come to the amount of damages due be liquidated. However, these provisions neglect to
petitioners. The trial court awarded a total of take into account those situations, as in this case,
P632,000.00 pesos (should be P616,000.00) in where the resulting injury might be continuing and
compensatory damages to the plaintiff, "subject to its possible future complications directly arising from the
being updated" covering the period from 15 injury, while certain to occur, are difficult to predict.
November 1985 up to 15 April 1992, based on
monthly expenses for the care of the patient
In these cases, the amount of damages which should
estimated at P8,000.00. be awarded, if they are to adequately and correctly
respond to the injury caused, should be one which
At current levels, the P8000/monthly amount compensates for pecuniary loss incurred and proved,
established by the trial court at the time of its decision up to the time of trial; and one which would meet
would be grossly inadequate to cover the actual pecuniary loss certain to be suffered but which could
costs of home-based care for a comatose individual. not, from the nature of the case, be made with
The calculated amount was not even arrived at by certainty. 80 In other words, temperate damages can
looking at the actual cost of proper hospice care for and should be awarded on top of actual or
the patient. What it reflected were the actual compensatory damages in instances where the injury
expenses incurred and proved by the petitioners after is chronic and continuing. And because of the unique
they were forced to bring home the patient to avoid nature of such cases, no incompatibility arises when
mounting hospital bills. both actual and temperate damages are provided for.
The reason is that these damages cover two distinct
And yet ideally, a comatose patient should remain in phases.
a hospital or be transferred to a hospice specializing
in the care of the chronically ill for the purpose of As it would not be equitable — and certainly not in
providing a proper milieu adequate to meet minimum the best interests of the administration of justice —
standards of care. In the instant case for instance, for the victim in such cases to constantly come before
Erlinda has to be constantly turned from side to side the courts and invoke their aid in seeking
to prevent bedsores and hypostatic pneumonia. adjustments to the compensatory damages
Feeding is done by nasogastric tube. Food previously awarded — temperate damages are
preparation should be normally made by a dietitian to appropriate. The amount given as temperate

14
damages, though to a certain extent speculative, permanent and lasting, it would also be
should take into account the cost of proper care. permanently changing and adjusting to the
physiologic changes which her body would
In the instant case, petitioners were able to provide normally undergo through the years. The
only home-based nursing care for a comatose patient replacements, changes, and adjustments
who has remained in that condition for over a decade. will require corresponding adjustive physical
Having premised our award for compensatory and occupational therapy. All of these
damages on the amount provided by petitioners at adjustments, it has been documented, are
the onset of litigation, it would be now much more in painful.
step with the interests of justice if the value awarded
for temperate damages would allow petitioners to xxx xxx xxx
provide optimal care for their loved one in a facility
which generally specializes in such care. They A prosthetic devise, however technologically
should not be compelled by dire circumstances to advanced, will only allow a reasonable
provide substandard care at home without the aid of amount of functional restoration of the motor
professionals, for anything less would be grossly functions of the lower limb. The sensory
inadequate. Under the circumstances, an award of functions are forever lost. The resultant
P1,500,000.00 in temperate damages would anxiety, sleeplessness, psychological injury,
therefore be reasonable. 81 mental and physical pain are inestimable. 83

In Valenzuela vs. Court of Appeals, 82 this Court was The injury suffered by Erlinda as a consequence of
confronted with a situation where the injury suffered private respondents' negligence is certainly much
by the plaintiff would have led to expenses which more serious than the amputation in the Valenzuela
were difficult to estimate because while they would case.
have been a direct result of the injury (amputation),
and were certain to be incurred by the plaintiff, they
Petitioner Erlinda Ramos was in her mid-forties when
were likely to arise only in the future. We awarded
the incident occurred. She has been in a comatose
P1,000,000.00 in moral damages in that case.
state for over fourteen years now. The burden of care
has so far been heroically shouldered by her
Describing the nature of the injury, the Court therein husband and children, who, in the intervening years
stated: have been deprived of the love of a wife and a
mother.
As a result of the accident, Ma. Lourdes
Valenzuela underwent a traumatic Meanwhile, the actual physical, emotional and
amputation of her left lower extremity at the financial cost of the care of petitioner would be
distal left thigh just above the knee. Because virtually impossible to quantify. Even the temperate
of this, Valenzuela will forever be deprived of damages herein awarded would be inadequate if
the full ambulatory functions of her left petitioner's condition remains unchanged for the next
extremity, even with the use of state of the ten years.
art prosthetic technology. Well beyond the
period of hospitalization (which was paid for
We recognized, in Valenzuela that a discussion of
by Li), she will be required to undergo
the victim's actual injury would not even scratch the
adjustments in her prosthetic devise due to
surface of the resulting moral damage because it
the shrinkage of the stump from the process
would be highly speculative to estimate the amount
of healing. of emotional and moral pain, psychological damage
and injury suffered by the victim or those actually
These adjustments entail costs, prosthetic affected by the victim's condition. 84 The husband
replacements and months of physical and and the children, all petitioners in this case, will have
occupational rehabilitation and therapy. to live with the day to day uncertainty of the patient's
During the lifetime, the prosthetic devise will illness, knowing any hope of recovery is close to nil.
have to be replaced and readjusted to They have fashioned their daily lives around the
changes in the size of her lower limb effected nursing care of petitioner, altering their long term
by the biological changes of middle-age, goals to take into account their life with a comatose
menopause and aging. Assuming she patient. They, not the respondents, are charged with
reaches menopause, for example, the the moral responsibility of the care of the victim. The
prosthetic will have to be adjusted to respond family's moral injury and suffering in this case is
to the changes in bone resulting from a clearly a real one. For the foregoing reasons, an
precipitate decrease in calcium levels award of P2,000,000.00 in moral damages would be
observed in the bones of all post- appropriate.
menopausal women. In other words, the
damage done to her would not only be

15
Finally, by way of example, exemplary damages in Republic of the Philippines
the amount of P100,000.00 are hereby awarded. SUPREME COURT
Considering the length and nature of the instant suit Manila
we are of the opinion that attorney's fees valued at
P100,000.00 are likewise proper. SECOND DIVISION

Our courts face unique difficulty in adjudicating G.R. No. L-33022 April 22, 1975
medical negligence cases because physicians are
not insurers of life and, they rarely set out to CENTRAL BANK OF THE
intentionally cause injury or death to their patients. PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
However, intent is immaterial in negligence cases
vs.
because where negligence exists and is proven, the COURT OF APPEALS and ABLAZA
same automatically gives the injured a right to CONSTRUCTION & FINANCE
reparation for the damage caused. CORPORATION, respondents.

Established medical procedures and practices, F.E. Evangelista for petitioner.


though in constant flux are devised for the purpose of
preventing complications. A physician's experience
with his patients would sometimes tempt him to Cruz, Villarin & Laureta for private respondent.
deviate from established community practices, and
he may end a distinguished career using unorthodox BARREDO, J.
methods without incident. However, when failure to
follow established procedure results in the evil Petition of the Central Bank of the Philippines for
precisely sought to be averted by observance of the review of the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-
procedure and a nexus is made between the G.R. No. 43638-R affirming the judgment of the Court
deviation and the injury or damage, the physician of First Instance of Rizal in Civil Case No. Q-10919
would necessarily be called to account for it. In the sentenced petitioner to pay respondent Ablaza
case at bar, the failure to observe pre-operative Construction and Finance Corporation damages for
assessment protocol which would have influenced breach contract in that after having formally and
the intubation in a salutary way was fatal to private officially awarded, pursuant to the results of the usual
respondents' case. bidding to Ablaza in December 1965 the "contract"
for the construction of its San Fernando, La Union
WHEREFORE, the decision and resolution of the branch building and allowed said contractor to
appellate court appealed from are hereby modified commence the work up to about May, 1966, albeit
so as to award in favor of petitioners, and solidarily without any written formal contract having been
against private respondents the following: 1) executed, the Bank failed and refused to proceed
P1,352,000.00 as actual damages computed as of with the project, unless the plans were revised and a
the date of promulgation of this decision plus a lower price were agreed to by Ablaza, the Bank
monthly payment of P8,000.00 up to the time that claiming that its action was pursuant to the policy of
petitioner Erlinda Ramos expires or miraculously fiscal restraint announced by the then new President
survives; 2) P2,000,000.00 as moral damages, 3) of the Philippines on December 30, 1965 and the
P1,500,000.00 as temperate damages; 4) Memorandum Circular No. 1 dated December 31,
P100,000.00 each as exemplary damages and 1965 of the same President.
attorney's fees; and, 5) the costs of the suit.
The factual background of this case is related in the
SO ORDERED. following portions of the decision of the trial court,
which the Court of Appeals affirmed without
Davide, Jr., C.J., Puno, Pardo and Ynares-Santiago, modification:
JJ., concur.
Sometime in 1965, defendant
Central Bank of the Philippines
issued Invitations to Bid and
Instructions to Bidders for the
purpose of receiving sealed
proposals for the general
construction of its various proposed
regional offices, including the
Central Bank regional office building
in San Fernando, La Union.

16
In response to the aforesaid dated January 4, 1966, addressed to
Invitations to Bid, the plaintiff Ablaza the plaintiff..
Construction and Finance
Corporation, which was one of the Within five (5) days from receipt by
qualified bidders, submitted a bid the plaintiff of the said notice of
proposal for the general construction award, and several times thereafter
of defendant's proposed regional Mr. Nicomedes C. Ablaza, an officer
office building in San Fernando, La of the plaintiff corporation, went
Union at the public bidding held on personally to see Mr. Rizalino L.
November 3, 1965. The said Mendoza at the latter's Central Bank
proposal was, as required by the office to follow up the signing of the
defendant accompanied by a cash corresponding contract. A
bidder's bond in the sum of performance bond in the total
P275,000.00. amount of P962,250.00
(P275,000.00 of which was in cash
On December 7, 1965, the Monetary and P687,250.00 in the form of a
Board of the defendant Central Bank surety bond) was subsequently
of the Philippines, after evaluating all posted by the plaintiff in compliance
the bid proposals submitted during with the above-stated Instructions to
the above-mentioned bidding, Bidders, which bond was duly
unanimously voted and approved accepted by the defendant.
the award to the plaintiff of the
contract for the general construction Pursuant to the permission granted
of defendant's proposed regional by the defendant, as aforesaid,
office building in San Fernando, La plaintiff commenced actual
Union, for the sum of P3,749,000.00 construction work on the project
under plaintiff's Proposal Item No. 2. about the middle of January, 1966.
On February 8, 1966, by means of a
Pursuant thereto, on December 10, formal letter, defendant requested
1965, Mr. Rizalino L. Mendoza, the plaintiff to submit a schedule of
Assistant to the Governor and deliveries of materials which,
concurrently the Chairman of the according to plaintiff's accepted
Management Building Committee of proposal, shall be furnished by the
the defendant Central Bank of the defendant. In compliance therewith,
Philippines, set a telegram to the on February 16, 1966, plaintiff
plaintiff, informing the latter that the submitted to the defendant the
contract for the general construction schedule of deliveries requested for.
of defendant's proposed regional
office building in San Fernando, La During the period when the actual
Union, had been awarded to the construction work on the project was
plaintiff. The said telegram was in progress, Mr. Nicomedes G.
followed by a formal letter, also Ablaza had several meetings with
dated December 10, 1965, duly Mr. Rizalino L. Mendoza at the
signed by said Mr. Rizalino L. latter's office in the Central Bank.
Mendoza, confirming the approval of During those meetings, they
the award of the above-stated discussed the progress of the
contract under plaintiff's Proposal construction work being then
Item No. 2 in the amount of undertaken by the plaintiff of the
P3,749,000.00. projects of the defendant in San
Fernando, La Union, including the
Upon receipt of the aforementioned progress of the excavation work.
letter, plaintiff immediately accepted
the said award by means of a letter Sometime during the early part of
dated December 15, 1965, whereby March, 1966, Mr. Rizalino L.
plaintiff also requested permission Mendoza was at the construction
for its workmen to enter the site of site of the said project. While he was
the project, build a temporary shelter there, he admitted having seen pile
and enclosure, and do some of soil in the premises. At that time,
clearing job thereat. Accordingly, the excavation work being
said permission was granted by the undertaken by the plaintiff was about
defendant as embodied in its letter 20% complete. On March 22, 1966,

17
defendant again wrote the plaintiff, On June 3, 1966, plaintiff, thru
requesting the latter to submit the counsel, wrote the defendant,
name of its representative demanding for the formal execution
authorized to sign the building of the corresponding contract,
contract with the defendant. In without prejudice to its claim for
compliance with the said request, damages. The defendant, thru its
plaintiff submitted to the defendant Deputy Governor, Mr. Amado R.
the name of its duly authorized Brinas, on June 15, 1966, replied to
representative by means of a letter the said letter of the plaintiff,
dated March 24, 1966. whereby the defendant claimed that
an agreement was reached between
A meeting called by the defendant the plaintiff and the defendant during
was held at the conference room of the meeting held on May 20, 1966.
the Central Bank on May 20, 1966. On the following day, however, in its
At the said meeting, the defendant, letter dated June 16, 1966, the
thru Finance Secretary Eduardo plaintiff, thru counsel, vehemently
Romualdez, announced, among denied that said parties concluded
other things, the reduction of the any agreement during the meeting in
appropriations for the construction of question.
the defendant's various proposed
regional offices, including that of the On July 5, 1966, defendant again
proposed San Fernando, La Union offered to return plaintiff's cash
regional office building, the bidder's bond in the amount of
construction of which had already P275,000.00. The plaintiff, thru
been started by the plaintiff. He also counsel, on July 6, 1966, agreed to
stated that the Central Bank accept the return of the said cash
Associated Architects would be bond, without prejudice, however, to
asked to prepare new plans and its claims as contained in its letters
designs based on such reduced to the defendant dated June 3, June
appropriations. The defendant, 10, and June 16, 1966, and with
during that same meeting, also further reservation regarding
advised the plaintiff, thru Messrs. payment of the corresponding
Nicomedes G. Ablaza and Alfredo interest thereon. On July 7, 1966,
G. Ablaza (who represented the the said sum of P275,000.00 was
plaintiff corporation at the said returned by the defendant to the
meeting), to stop its construction plaintiff.
work on the Central Bank Regional
office building in San Fernando, La On January 30, 1967, in accordance
Union. This was immediately with the letter of the plaintiff, thru
complied with by the plaintiff, counsel, dated January 26, 1967,
although its various construction the construction equipment of the
equipment remained in the jobsite. plaintiff were pulled out from the
The defendant likewise presented construction site, for which the
certain offer and proposals to the plaintiff incurred hauling expenses.
plaintiff, among which were: (a) the
immediate return of plaintiff's cash
The negotiations of the parties for
bidder's bond of P275,000.00; (b) the settlement of plaintiff's claims out
the payment of interest on said of court proved to be futile; hence,
bidder's bond at 12% per annum; (c)
the present action was instituted by
the reimbursement to the plaintiff of
plaintiff against the defendant." (Pp.
the value of all the work
249-256, Rec. on Appeal).
accomplished at the site; (d) the
entering into a negotiated contract
with the plaintiff on the basis of the It may be added that the Instructions to Bidders on
reduced appropriation for the project the basis of which the bid and award in question were
in question; and (e) the submitted and made contained, among others, the
reimbursement of the premium on following provisions:
plaintiff's performance bond. Not
one of these offers and proposals of IB 113.4 The acceptance of the
the defendant, however, was Proposal shall be communicated in
accepted by the plaintiff during that writing by the Owner and no other
meeting of May 20, 1966. act of the Owner shall constitute the

18
acceptance of the Proposal. The PETITIONER HAD GIVEN ITS
acceptance of a Proposal shall bind APPROVAL TO THE WORK DONE
the successful bidder to execute the BY RESPONDENT ABLAZA
Contract and to be responsible for CONSTRUCTION & FINANCE
liquidated damages as herein CORPORATION.
provided. The rights and obligations
provided for in the Contract shall IV. THE COURT OF APPEALS
become effective and binding upon ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE
the parties only with its formal AWARD OF ACTUAL AND
execution. COMPENSATORY DAMAGES,
ATTORNEY'S FEES AND
xxx xxx xxx RETAINING FEE IS FAIR AND
REASONABLE, AND IN HOLDING
IB 114.1 The bidder whose proposal THAT PETITIONER IS LIABLE FOR
is accepted will be required to COSTS." (Pp. A & B, Petitioner-
appear at the Office of the Owner in Appellant's Brief.)
person, or, if a firm or corporation, a
duly authorized representative shall Under the first assigned error, petitioner denotes the
so appear, and to execute that major part of its effort to the discussion of its
contract within five (5) days after proposition that there could be no perfected contract
notice that the contract has been in this case, (contrary to the conclusion of the courts
awarded to him. Failure or neglect to below) because there is no showing of compliance,
do so shall constitute a breach of and in fact, there has been no compliance with the
agreement effected by the requirement that there must be a certification of the
acceptance of the Proposal. availability of funds by the Auditor General pursuant
to Section 607 of the Revised Administrative Code
xxx xxx xxx which provides thus:

IB 118.1 The Contractor shall Section 607. Certificate showing


commence the work within ten (10) appropriation to meet contract. —
calendar days from the date he Except in the case of a contract for
receives a copy of the fully executed personal service or for supplies to be
Contract, and he shall complete the carried in stock, no contract
work within the time specified." (Pp. involving an expenditure by the
18-19 & 58-59, Petitioner- National Government of three
Appellant's Brief.) thousand pesos or more shall be
entered into or authorized until the
Auditor General shall have certified
In the light of these facts, petitioner has made the
to the officer entering into such
following assignment of errors:
obligation that funds have been duly
appropriated for such purpose and
I. THE COURT OF APPEALS that the amount necessary to cover
ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THERE the proposed contract is available
WAS A PERFECTED CONTRACT for expenditure on account thereof.
BETWEEN PETITIONER When application is made to the
CENTRAL BANK OF THE Auditor General for the certificate
PHILIPPINES AND RESPONDENT herein required, a copy of the
ABLAZA CONSTRUCTION & proposed contract or agreement
FINANCE CORPORATION FOR shall be submitted to him
THE GENERAL CONSTRUCTION accompanied by a statement in
WORK OF PETITIONER'S writing from the officer making the
REGIONAL OFFICE BUILDING AT application showing all obligations
SAN FERNANDO, LA UNION. not yet presented for audit which
have been incurred against the
II. THE COURT OF APPEALS appropriation to which the contract
ERRED IN HOLDING THAT in question would be chargeable;
PETITIONER HAS COMMITTED A and such certificate, when signed by
BREACH OF CONTRACT. the Auditor, shall be attached to and
become a part of the proposed
III. THE COURT OF APPEALS contract, and the sum so certified
ERRED IN HOLDING THAT shall not thereafter be available for

19
expenditure for any other purposes have been upheld by this Honorable
until the Government is discharged Court in the case of Tan C. Tee Co.
from the contract in question. vs. Wright, 53 Phil. 172, in which
case it was held that the award of the
Except in the case of a contract for contract to the lowest bidder does
supplies to be carried in stock, no not amount to entering into the
contract involving the expenditure by contract because of the requirement
any province, municipality, of Section 607 of the Revised
chartered city, or municipal district of Administrative Code that a copy of
two thousand pesos or more shall be the proposed contract shall be
entered into or authorized until the submitted to the Auditor General
treasurer of the political division together with a request for the
concerned shall have certified to the availability of funds to cover the
officer entering into such contract proposed contract. Thus, this
that funds have been duly Honorable Court held:
appropriated for such purpose and
that the amount necessary to cover 'To award the
the proposed contract is available contract to the
for expenditure on account thereof. lowest responsible
Such certificate, when signed by the bidder is not the
said treasurer, shall be attached to equivalent of
and become part of the proposed entering into the
contract and the sum so certified contract. Section
shall not thereafter be available for 607 of the
expenditure for any other purpose Administrative
until the contract in question is Code requires that
lawfully abrogated or discharged. a copy of the
proposed contract
For the purpose of making the shall be submitted
certificate hereinabove required along with the
ninety per centum of the estimated request for the
revenues and receipts which should certificate of
accrue during the current fiscal year availability of funds,
but which are yet uncollected, shall but there could be
be deemed to be in the treasury of no proposed
the particular branch of the contract to be
Government against which the submitted until after
obligation in question would create a the award was
charge." (Pp. 23-25, Petitioner- made.'
Appellant's Brief.)
And to guide government authorities
It is contended that in view of such omission and in the letting of government
considering the provisions of Section 608 of the contracts, this Honorable Court, in
same code to the effect that "a purported contract said case of Tan C. Tee vs. Wright,
entered into contrary to the requirements of the next supra, laid down the procedure
preceding section hereof shall be wholly void", "no which should be followed, as
contract between the petitioner and respondent follows:
Ablaza Construction and Finance Corporation for the
general construction of the proposed regional office `PROCEDURE
building of the Central Bank in San Fernando, La WHICH SHOULD
Union, was ever perfected because only the first BE FOLLOWED IN
stage, that is the award of the contract to the lowest THE LETTING OF
responsible bidder, respondent Ablaza Construction CONTRACTS FOR
and Finance Corporation, was completed." (p. 29, INSULAR WORKS.
Petitioner-Appellant's Brief.) And in support of this — The procedure
pose, petitioner relies heavily on Tan C. Tee & Co. which should be
vs. Wright thus: followed in the
letting of contracts
The aforesaid requirements of the for Insular works is
Revised Administrative Code for the the following: First,
perfection of government contracts there is an award of

20
the contract by the 51, the appellate court cannot consider any error of
Director of Public the lower court "unless stated in the assignment of
Works to the lowest errors and properly argued in the brief."
responsible bidder.
Second, there is a Even prescinding from this consideration of
certificate of belatedness, however, it is Our considered view that
availability of funds contracts entered into by petitioner Central Bank are
to be obtained from not within the contemplation of Sections 607 and 608
the Insular Auditor, cited by it. Immediately to be noted, Section 607
and in some cases specifically refers to "expenditure(s) of the National
from the Insular Government" and that the term "National
Treasurer, to cover Government" may not be deemed to include the
the proposed Central Bank. Under the Administrative Code itself,
contract. And third, the term "National Government" refers only to the
there is a contract central government, consisting of the legislative,
to be executed on executive and judicial departments of the
behalf of the government, as distinguished from local
Government by the governments and other governmental entities and is
Director of Public not synonymous, therefore, with the terms "The
Works with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines" or
approval of the "Philippine Government", which are the expressions
department head.'" broad enough to include not only the central
(Pp. 27-28, government but also the provincial and municipal
Petitioner- governments, chartered cities and other government-
Appellant's Brief.) controlled corporations or agencies, like the Central
Bank. (I, Martin, Administrative Code, p. 15.)
The contention is without merit. To start with, the
record reveals that it is more of an afterthought. To be sure the Central Bank is a government
Respondent never raised this question whether in its instrumentality. But it was created as an autonomous
pleadings or at the hearings in the trial court. We body corporate to be governed by the provisions of
have also read its brief in the appellate court and no its charter, Republic Act 265, "to administer the
mention is made therein of this point. Not even in its monetary and banking system of the Republic." (Sec.
memorandum submitted to that court in lieu of oral 1) As such, it is authorized "to adopt, alter and use a
argument is there any discussion thereof, even as it corporate seal which shall be judicially noticed; to
appears that emphasis was given therein to various make contracts; to lease or own real and personal
portions of the Revised Manual of Instructions to property, and to sell or otherwise dispose of the
Treasurers regarding the perfection and constitution same; to sue and be sued; and otherwise to do and
of public contracts. In fact, reference was made perform any and all things that may be necessary or
therein to Administrative Order No. 290 of the proper to carry out the purposes of this Act. The
President of the Philippines, dated February 5, 1959, Central Bank may acquire and hold such assets and
requiring "all contracts of whatever nature involving incur such liabilities as result directly from operations
P10,000 or more to be entered into by all bureaus authorized by the provisions of this Act, or as are
and offices, ... including the ... Central Bank ... shall essential to the proper conduct of such operations."
be submitted to the Auditor General for examination (Sec. 4) It has capital of its own and operates under
and review before the same are perfected and/or a budget prepared by its own Monetary Board and
consummated, etc.", without mentioning, however, otherwise appropriates money for its operations and
that said administrative order was no longer in force, other expenditures independently of the national
the same having been revoked on January 17, 1964 budget. It does not depend on the National
by President Macapagal under Administrative Order Government for the financing of its operations; it is
No. 81, s. 1964. the National Government that occasionally resorts to
it for needed budgetary accommodations. Under
Hence, if only for the reason that it is a familiar rule Section 14 of the Bank's charter, the Monetary Board
in procedure that defenses not pleaded in the answer may authorize such expenditures by the Central
may not be raised for the first time on appeal, Bank as are in the interest of the effective
petitioner's position cannot be sustained. Indeed, in administration and operation of the Bank." Its
the Court of Appeals, petitioner could only bring up prerogative to incur such liabilities and expenditures
such questions as are related to the issues made by is not subject to any prerequisite found in any statute
the parties in their pleadings, particularly where or regulation not expressly applicable to it. Relevantly
factual matters may be involved, because to permit a to the issues in this case, it is not subject, like the
party to change his theory on appeal "would be unfair Social Security Commission, to Section 1901 and
to the adverse party." (II, Moran, Rules of Court, p. related provisions of the Revised Administrative
505, 1970 ed.) Furthermore, under Section 7 of Rule Code which require national government

21
constructions to be done by or under the supervision outside authority before doing so. Indeed, this is
of the Bureau of Public Works. (Op. of the Sec. of readily to be inferred from the repeal already
Justice No. 92, Series of 1960) For these reasons, mentioned earlier of Administrative Order No. 290, s.
the provisions of the Revised Administrative Code 1959, which petitioner tried to invoke, overlooking
invoked by the Bank do not apply to it. To Our perhaps such repeal. In other words, by that repeal,
knowledge, in no other instance has the Bank ever the requirement that the Central Bank should submit
considered itself subject thereto. to the Auditor General for examination and review
before contracts involving P10,000 or more to be
In Zobel vs. City of Manila, 47 Phil. 169, this Court entered into by it "before the same are perfected
adopted a restrictive construction of Section 607 of and/or consummated" had already been eliminated
the Administrative Code thus: at the time the transaction herein involved took place.
Consequently, the point of invalidity pressed,
belatedly at that, by petitioner has no leg to stand on.
The second question to be considered has reference
to the applicability of section 607 of the
Administrative Code to contracts made by the City of The other main contention of petitioner is that the
Manila. In the second paragraph of said section it is purported or alleged contract being relied upon by
declared that no contract involving the expenditure respondent never reached the stage of perfection
by any province, municipality, township, or which would make it binding upon the parties and
settlement of two thousand pesos or more shall be entitle either of them to sue for specific performance
entered into or authorized until the treasurer of the in case of breach thereof. In this connection, since
political division concerned shall have certified to the the transaction herein involved arose from the award
officer entering into such contract that funds have of a construction contract2 by a government
been duly appropriated for such purpose and that the corporation and the attempt on its part to discontinue
amount necessary to cover the proposed contract is with the construction several months after such
available for expenditure on account thereof. It is award had been accepted by the contractor and after
admitted that no such certificate was made by the the latter had already commenced the work without
treasurer of Manila at the time the contract now in any objection on the part of the corporation, so much
question was made. We are of the opinion that the so that entry into the site for the purpose was upon
provision cited has no application to contracts of a express permission from it, but before any written
chartered city, such as the City of Manila. Upon contract has been executed, it is preferable that
examining said provision (sec. 607) it will be found certain pertinent points be clarified for the proper
that the term chartered city, or other similar resolution of the issue between the parties here and
expression, such as would include the City of Manila, the general guidance of all who might be similarly
is not used; and it is quite manifest from the careful situated.
use of terms in said section that chartered cities were
intended to be excluded. In this connection the Petitioner buttresses its position in regard to this
definitions of "province," "municipality," and issue on the provisions earlier quoted in this opinion
"chartered city," given in section 2 of the of the Instruction to Bidders:
Administrative Code are instructive. The
circumstance that for certain purposes the City of IB 113.4 The acceptance of the
Manila has the status both of a province and a Proposal shall be communicated in
municipality (as is true in the distribution of revenue) writing by the Owner and no other
is not inconsistent with this conclusion."1 act of the Owner shall constitute the
acceptance of the Proposal. The
We perceive no valid reason why the Court should acceptance of a Proposal shall bind
not follow the same view now in respect to the first the successful bidder to execute the
paragraph of the section by confirming its application Contract and to be responsible for
only to the offices comprised within the term National liquidated damages as herein
Government as above defined, particularly insofar as provided. The rights and obligations
government-owned or created corporations or provided for in the Contract shall
entities having powers to make expenditures and to become effective and binding upon
incur liabilities by virtue of their own corporate the parties only with its formal
authority independently of the national or local execution.
legislative bodies, as in the case of the petitioner
herein, are concerned. Whenever necessary, the xxx xxx xxx
Monetary Board, like any other corporate board,
makes all required appropriations directly from the IB 118.1 The Contractor shall
funds of the Bank and does not need any official commence the work within ten (10)
statement of availability from its treasurer or auditor
calendar days from the date he
and without submitting any papers to, much less
receives a copy of the fully executed
securing the approval of the Auditor General or any
Contract, and he shall complete the

22
work within the time specified." (Pp. contractor is ready and willing to execute the formal
18-19, Petitioner-Appellant's Brief.) contract within the five (5) day period given to him,
petitioner now claims that under the invoked
Petitioner insists that under these provisions, the provision, it could refuse to execute such contract
rights and obligations of the Bank and Ablaza could and still be absolutely free from any liability to the
become effective and binding only upon the contractor who, in the meantime, has to make
execution of the formal contract, and since admittedly necessary arrangements and incur expenditures in
no formal contract has yet been signed by the parties order to be able to commence work "within ten (10)
herein, there is yet no perfected contract to speak of days from the date he receives a copy of the fully
and respondent has, therefore, no cause of action executed Contract," or be responsible for damages
against the Bank. And in refutation of respondent's for delay. The unfairness of such a view is too evident
argument that it had already started the work with to be justified by the invocation of the principle that
some clearing job and foundation excavations, which every party to a contract who is sui juris and who has
has never been stopped by petitioner who had entered into it voluntarily and with full knowledge of
previously given express permission to respondent to its unfavorable provisions may not subsequently
enter the jobsite, build a temporary shelter and complain about them when they are being enforced,
enclosures thereon, petitioner counters that under if only because there are other portions of the
the above instructions, respondent is supposed to Instruction to Bidders which indicate the contrary.
commence the work "within ten (10) calendar days Certainly, We cannot sanction that in the absence of
from the date he receives a copy of the fully executed unavoidable just reasons, the Bank could simply
Contract," and for said respondent to have started refuse to execute the contract and thereby avoid it
actual construction work before any contract has entirely. Even a government owned corporation may
been signed was unauthorized and was not under the guise of protecting the public interest
consequently undertaken at his own risk, all the unceremoniously disregard contractual
above circumstances indicative of estoppel commitments to the prejudice of the other party.
notwithstanding. Otherwise, the door would be wide open to abuses
and anomalies more detrimental to public interest. If
there could be instances wherein a government
We are not persuaded that petitioner's posture
corporation may justifiably withdraw from a
conforms with law and equity. According to
commitment as a consequence of more paramount
Paragraph IB 114.1 of the Instructions to Bidders,
Ablaza was "required to appear in the office of the considerations, the case at bar is not, for the reasons
Owner (the Bank) in person, or, if a firm or already given, one of them.
corporation, a duly authorized representative
(thereof), and to execute the contract within five (5) As We see it then, contrary to the contention of the
days after notice that the contract has been awarded Bank, the provision it is citing may not be considered
to him. Failure or neglect to do so shall constitute a as determinative of the perfection of the contract here
breach of agreement effected by the acceptance of in question. Said provision only means that as
the Proposal." There can be no other meaning of this regards the violation of any particular term or
provision than that the Bank's acceptance of the bid condition to be contained in the formal contract, the
of respondent Ablaza effected an actionable corresponding action therefor cannot arise until after
agreement between them. We cannot read it in the the writing has been fully executed. Thus, after the
unilateral sense suggested by petitioner that it bound Proposal of respondent was accepted by the Bank
only the contractor, without any corresponding thru its telegram and letter both dated December 10,
responsibility or obligation at all on the part of the 1965 and respondent in turn accepted the award by
Bank. An agreement presupposes a meeting of its letter of December 15, 1965, both parties became
minds and when that point is reached in the bound to proceed with the subsequent steps needed
negotiations between two parties intending to enter to formalize and consummate their agreement.
into a contract, the purported contract is deemed Failure on the part of either of them to do so, entities
perfected and none of them may thereafter the other to compensation for the resulting damages.
disengage himself therefrom without being liable to To such effect was the ruling of this Court in Valencia
the other in an action for specific performance. vs. RFC 103 Phil. 444. We held therein that the
award of a contract to a bidder constitutes an
The rather ambiguous terms of Paragraph IB 113.4 acceptance of said bidder's proposal and that "the
of the Instructions to Bidders relied upon by petitioner effect of said acceptance was to perfect a contract,
upon notice of the award to (the bidder)". (at p. 450)
have to be reconciled with the other paragraphs
We further held therein that the bidder's "failure to
thereof to avoid lack of mutuality in the relation
(sign the corresponding contract) do not relieve him
between the parties. This invoked paragraph
of the obligation arising from the unqualified
stipulates that "the acceptance of (respondent's)
Proposal shall bind said respondent to execute the acceptance of his offer. Much less did it affect the
Contract and to be responsible for liquidated existence of a contract between him and
respondent". (at p. 452)
damages as herein provided." And yet, even if the

23
It is neither just nor equitable that Valencia should be reasonableness of the figures presented by the
construed to have sanctioned a one-sided view of the plaintiff; neither does it appear that the defendant
perfection of contracts in the sense that the offered any evidence to refute said figures.
acceptance of a bid by a duly authorized official of a
government-owned corporation, financially and While it is claimed by the defendant that the plaintiff
otherwise autonomous both from the National incurred a total expense of only P154,075.00
Government and the Bureau of Public Works, insofar according to the report of Mr. Ambrosio R. Flores, or
as its construction contracts are concerned, binds P147,500.00, according to the report of Mr. Ricardo
only the bidder and not the corporation until the Y. Mayuga, the Court finds said estimates to be
formal execution of the corresponding written inaccurate. To cite only an instance, in estimating,
contract. the value of the excavation work, the defendant
merely measured the depth, length and width of the
Such unfairness and inequity would even be more excavated, area which was submerged in water,
evident in the case at bar, if We were to uphold without ascertaining the volume of rock and the
petitioner's pose. Pertinently to the point under volume of earth actually excavated as was done by
consideration, the trial court found as follows: the plaintiff who prepared a detailed plan showing the
profile of the excavation work performed in the site
To determine the amount of damages recoverable (Exh. "B"). Likewise, the unit measure adopted by the
from the defendant, plaintiff's claim for actual defendant was in cubic meter while it should be in
damages in the sum of P298,433.35, as hereinabove cubic yard. Also the unit price used by the defendant
stated, and the recommendation of Messrs. was only P8.75 for rock excavation while it should be
Ambrosio R. Flores and Ricardo Y. Mayuga, as P10.00 per cubic yard; and only P4.95 for earth
contained in their separate reports (Exhs. "13" and excavation while it should be P5.50 per cubic yard as
"15"), in the amounts of P154,075.00 and clearly indicated in plaintiff's proposal (Annex "A",
P147,500.00, respectively, should be taken into Complaint; same as Annex "1", Answer). The Court,
account. therefore, can not give credence to defendant's,
aforementioned estimates in view of their evident
inaccuracies.
There is evidence on record showing that plaintiff
incurred the sum of P48,770.30 for the preparation of
the jobsite, construction of bodegas, fences field The Court finds from the evidence adduced that
offices, working sheds, and workmen's quarters; that Plaintiff claim for actual damages in the sum of
the value of the excavation work accomplished by the P298,433.35 is meritorious.
plaintiff at the site was P113,800.00; that the rental of
the various construction equipment of the plaintiff The Bulk of plaintiffs claims consists of expected
from the stoppage of work until the removal thereof profit which it failed to realize due to the breach of the
from the jobsite would amount to P78,540.00 (Exhs. contract in question by the defendant. As previously
"K" - "K-l"); that the interest on the cash bond of stated, the plaintiff seeks to recover the amount of
P275,000.00 from November 3, 1965 to July 7, 1966 P814,190.00 by way of unrealized expected profit.
at 12% per annum would be P22,000.00; that for This figure represents 18% of P4,523,275.00 which
removing said construction equipment from the is the estimated direct cost of the subject project.
jobsite to Manila, plaintiff paid a hauling fee of
P700.00 (Exhs. "L" - "L-1" ); that for the performance As it has been established by the evidence that the
bond that the plaintiff posted as required under its defendant in fact was guilty of breach of contract and,
contract with the defendant, the former was obliged therefore, liable for damages (Art. 1170, New Civil
to pay a premium of P2,216.55; and that the plaintiff Code), the Court finds that the plaintiff is entitled to
was likewise made to incur the sum of P32,406.50, recover from the defendant unrealized expected
representing the 3% contractor's tax (Exhs. "AA" - "A- profit as part of the actual or compensatory damages.
l"). The itemized list of all these expenditures, Indemnification for damages shall comprehend not
totalling P298,433.35 is attached to the records of only the value of the loss suffered, but also that of the
this case (Annex "B", Complaint) and forms part of profits which the obligee failed to obtain (Art. 2200,
the evidence of the plaintiff. Mr. Nicomedes G. New Civil Code).
Ablaza, the witness for the plaintiff, properly identified
said document and affirmed the contents thereof
Where a party is guilty of breach of contract, the other
when he testified during the hearing. The same
party is entitled to recover the profit which the latter
witness likewise explained in detail the various
would have been able to make had the contract been
figures contained therein, and identified the performed (Paz P. Arrieta, et al., plaintiffs-appellees,
corresponding supporting papers. vs. National Rice Corporation defendant-appellant,
G.R. No. L-15645, promulgated on January 31, 1964;
It is noteworthy, in this connection, that there is Vivencio Cerrano, plaintiff-appellee, vs. Tan Chuco,
nothing in the records that would show that the defendant-appellant, 38 Phil. 392).
defendant assailed the accuracy and/or

24
Regarding the expected profit, a number of questions 25. Following the commencement of
will have to be answered: Is the 18% unrealized such construction work, petitioner
expected profit being claimed by the plaintiff Central Bank, through a letter dated
reasonable? Would the plaintiff be entitled to the February 8, 1966, formally
whole amount of said expected profit although there requested respondent Ablaza to
was only partial performance of the contract? Would submit to petitioner the following:
the 18% expected profit be based on the estimated
direct cost of the subject in the amount of (a) A schedule of deliveries
P4,523,275.00, or on plaintiff's bid proposal of of material which, under the
P3,749,000.00? terms of respondent
Ablaza's approved
On the question of reasonableness of the 18% proposal, were to be
expected profit, the Court noted that according to furnished by petitioner.
defendant's own expert witness, Mr. Ambrosio R.
Flores, 25% contractor's profit for a project similar in (b) A time-table for the
magnitude as the one involved in the present case accomplishment of the
would be ample and reasonable. Plaintiff's witness, construction work.
Mr. Nicomedes G. Ablaza, an experienced civil
engineer who has been actively engaged in the In short, as early as
construction business, testified that 15% to 20% February 8, 1966, or more
contractor's profit would be in accordance with the than three months prior to
standard engineering practice. Considering the type petitioner's repudiation of
of the project involved in this case, he stated, the the contract in question the
contractor's profit was placed at 18%. Taking into latter (petitioner) already
consideration the fact that this percentage of profit is took the above positive
even lower than what defendant's witness steps it compliance with its
considered to be ample and reasonable, the Court own obligations under the
believes that the reasonable percentage should be contract.
18% inasmuch as the actual work was not done
completely and the plaintiff has not invested the
whole amount of money called for by the project." 26. Acting upon petitioner's above
(Pp. 263-268, Record on Appeal.) letter of February 8, 1966, on
February 16, 1966, respondent
Ablaza submitted the schedule of
These findings have not been shown to Us to be
deliveries requested by petitioner.
erroneous. And additional and clarificatory details, (Commissioner's Report, R.A., p.
which We find to be adequately supported by the 182; Decision id., 252; also Exhs.
record, are stated in Respondents' brief thus:
"D" to "D-7", inclusive.)

23. In a letter dated January 4, 1966,


27. During the period of actual
petitioner Central Bank, through the construction, respondent Ablaza, on
same Mr. Mendoza, to this request several occasions, actually
of respondent Ablaza. (Annex "D-1"
discussed the progress of the work
to the Partial Stipulation of Facts,
with Mr. Mendoza. In addition, in
R.A., p. 146).
March 1966, the latter (Mr.
Mendoza) personally visited the
24. Acting upon this written construction site. There he saw the
permission, respondent Ablaza work which respondent had by that
immediately brought its men and time already accomplished which
equipment from Manila to the consisted of the completion of
construction site in San Fernando, approximately 20% of the necessary
La Union, and promptly commenced excavation works. (Commissioner's
construction work thereat. This Report, R.A., p. 182; Decision, id., p.
work, consisted of the setting up of 252).
an enclosure around the site, the
building of temporary shelter for its
28. Following Mr. Mendoza's visit at
workmen, and the making of the the construction site, or more
necessary excavation works. specifically on March 22, 1966, the
(Commissioner's Report, R.A., p.
latter (Mendoza) wrote to
181).
respondent Ablaza, instructing the
latter to formally designate the
person to represent the corporation

25
at the signing of the formal 33. After making the above
construction contract. (Exh. "H"; also announcements, Secretary
t.s.n., pp. 119-121, December 18, Romualdez proposed that all
1967). existing contracts previously entered
into between petitioner Central Bank
29. By a letter dated March 24, 1966, and the several winning contractors
respondent Ablaza promptly (among them being respondent
complied with the above request. Ablaza) be considered set aside.
(Exh. "I"; also t.s.n., pp 121-123,
December 18, 1967). 34. Obviously to induce acceptance
of the above proposal, Secretary
30. Subsequently, respondent Romualdez offered the following
Ablaza posted the required concessions to respondent Ablaza:
performance guaranty bond in the
total amount of P962,250.00, (a) That its cash bond in the
consisting of (a) a cash bond in the amount of P275,000.00 be
amount of P275,000.00, and (b) a released immediately, and
surety bond, PSIC Bond No. B-252- that interest be paid thereon
ML, dated May 19, 1966, in the at the rate of 12% per
amount of P687,250.00. In this annum.
connection, it is important to note
that the specific purpose of this bond (b) That respondent Ablaza
was to guarantee "the faithful be reimbursed for expenses
Performance of the Contract" by incurred for the premiums
respondent Ablaza. (Partial on the performance bond
Stipulation of Facts, par. 6, R.A., p. which it posted, and which
141). This performance guaranty petitioner had already
bond was duly accepted by accepted. (Decision, R.A.,
petitioner.(Id.) pp. 253-254).

31. However, on May 20, 1966, 35. In addition, Secretary


petitioner Central Bank called for a Romualdez also proposed the
meeting with representatives of conclusion of a new contract with
respondent Ablaza and another respondent Ablaza for the
contractor. This meeting was held at construction of a more modest
the Conference Room of the Central regional office building at San
Bank Building. At this meeting, then Fernando, La Union, on
Finance Secretary Eduardo a negotiated basis. However, the
Romualdez, who acted as the sincerity and feasibility of this
representative of petitioner, proposal was rendered dubious by a
announced that the Monetary Board caveat attached to it, as follows:
had decided to reduce the
appropriations for the various '4. Where auditing
proposed Central Bank regional regulations would permit,
office buildings, including the one for
the Central Bank would
San Fernando, La Union.
enter into a negotiated
contract with the said
32. In view of this decision, corporation (Ablaza) for the
Secretary Romualdez informed construction work on the
respondent Ablaza that new plans building on the basis of the
and designs for the proposed revised estimates.' (Annex
regional office building in San "8" to Answer, R.A., p. 95).
Fernando would have to be drawn
up to take account of the reduction
36. The revised cost fixed for this
in appropriation. Secretary
proposed alternative regional office
Romualdez then advised building was fixed at a maximum of
respondent to suspendwork at the
P3,000,000.00 (compared to
construction site in San Fernando in
P3,749,000.00 under the contract
the meanwhile. (Decision, R.A., pp.
originally awarded to respondent).
253-254). (Annex "6-A" to Answer, R.A., p. 87).

26
37. Needless perhaps to state, the Monetary Board, in this particular case, the
respondent Ablaza rejected the attitude and actuations then of the Bank in relation to
above proposals (pars. 34 and 35, the work being done by Ablaza prior to May 20, 1966
supra.), and on June 3, 1966, clearly indicate that both parties assumed that the
through counsel, wrote to petitioner actual execution of the written contract is a mere
demanding the formal execution of formality which could not materially affect their
the contract previously awarded to it, respective contractual rights and obligations. In legal
or in the alternative, to pay "all effect, therefore, the Bank must be considered as
damages and expenses suffered by having waived such requirement.
(it) in the total amount of
P1,181,950.00 ... "(Annex "7" to To be more concrete, from December 15, 1965,
Answer, R.A., pp. 89-91; Decision, when Ablaza accepted the award of the contract in
id., p. 254). question, both parties were supposed to have seen
to it that the formal contract were duly signed. Under
38. In a letter dated June 15, 1966, the Instructions to Bidders, Ablaza was under
petitioner Central Bank, through obligation to sign the same within five (5) days from
Deputy Governor Amado R. Brinas, notice of the award, and so, he called on the Bank at
replied to respondent Ablaza's various times for that purpose. The Bank never
demand denying any liability on the indicated until May, 1966 that it would not comply. On
basis of the following claim: the contrary, on February 8, 1966, Ablaza was
requested to submit a "schedule of deliveries of
`(That, allegedly) in line with materials" which under the terms of the bid were to
the agreement ... reached be furnished by the Bank. On March 22, 1966, Ablaza
between the Central Bank received a letter from the Bank inquiring as to who
and Ablaza Construction would be Ablaza's representative to sign the formal
and Finance Corporation at contract. In the meanwhile, no less than Mr. Rizalino
a meeting held ... on May Mendoza, the Chairman of the Management Building
20, 1966,' "whatever Committee of the Central Bank who had been signing
agreements might have for the Bank all the communications regarding the
been previously agreed project at issue, had visited the construction site in
upon between (petitioner March, 1966, just before he wrote the request
and respondent) would be abovementioned of the 22nd of that month for the
considered set aside." nomination of the representative to sign the formal
(Decision, R.A., p. 255; contract, and actually saw the progress of the work
Annex "8" to Answer, id., pp. and that it was being continued, but he never
93-96.) protested or had it stopped. All these despite the fact
that the Memorandum Circular being invoked by the
Bank was issued way back on December 31, 1965
39. The above claim was, however,
yet. And when finally on May 20, 1966 the Bank met
promptly and peremptorily denied by
with the representatives of Ablaza regarding the idea
respondent Ablaza, through
of changing the plans to more economical ones,
counsel, in a letter dated June 16,
1966. (Partial Stipulation of Facts, there was no mention of the non-execution of the
contract as entitling the Bank to back out of it
par. 9, R.A., p. 142, also Annex "G"
thereof; Commissioner's Report, unconditionally. Rather, the talk, according to the
R.A., p. 185; Decision, id., p. 255.)" findings of the lower courts, was about the possibility
of setting aside whatever agreement there was
(Appellee's Brief, pars. 23 to 39, pp.
14-19.) already. Under these circumstances, it appears that
respondent has been made to believe up to the time
the Bank decided definitely not to honor any
None of these facts is seriously or in any event agreement at all that its execution was not
sufficiently denied in petitioner's reply brief. indispensable to a contract to be considered as
already operating and respondent could therefore
Considering all these facts, it is quite obvious that the proceed with the work, while the contract could be
Bank's insistence now regarding the need for the formalized later.
execution of the formal contract comes a little too late
to be believable. Even assuming arguendo that the Petitioner contends next that its withdrawal from the
Revised Manual of Instructions to Treasurers were contract is justified by the policy of economic restraint
applicable to the Central Bank, which is doubtful, ordained by Memorandum Circular No. 1. We do not
considering that under the provisions of its charter see it that way. Inasmuch as the contract here in
already referred to earlier, disbursements and question was perfected before the issuance of said
expenditures of the Bank are supposed to be Memorandum Circular, it is elementary that the same
governed by rules and regulations promulgated by may not be enforced in such a manner as to result in

27
the impairment of the obligations of the contract, for the said award is much less than that
that is not constitutionally permissible. Not even by given by appellant's own expert
means of a statute, which is much more weighty than witness, Ambrosio R. Flores. He
a mere declaration of policy, may the government testified that 25% as contractor's
issue any regulation relieving itself or any person profit "would be fair, ample and
from the binding effects of a contract. (Section 1 (10), reasonable." (T.s.n, p. 557,
Article III, Philippine Constitution of 1953 and Section Batalla.)" (p. 17 A, Appellant's brief.)
11, Article IV, 1973 Constitution of the Philippines.)
Specially in the case of the Central Bank, perhaps, it Basically, these are factual conclusions which We
might not have been really imperative that it should are not generally at liberty to disregard. And We have
have revised its plans, considering that it has its own not been shown that they are devoid of reasonable
resources independent of those of the national basis.
government and that the funds of the Central Bank
are derived from its own operations, not from taxes. There can be no dispute as to the legal obligation of
In any event, if the memorandum circular had to be petitioner to pay respondent the actual expenses it
implemented, the corresponding action in that
has incurred in performing its part of the contract.
direction should have been taken without loss of time
and before the contract in question had taken deeper
roots. It is thus clear that in unjustifiably failing to Upon the other hand, the legal question of whether
honor its contract with respondent, petitioner has to or not the Bank is liable for unrealized profits
suffer the consequences of its action. presents no difficulty. In Arrieta vs. Naric G.R. No. L-
15645, Jan. 31, 1964, 10 SCRA 79, this Court
sustained as a matter of law the award of damages n
The last issue submitted for Our resolution refers to
the amount of U.S. $286,000, payable in Philippine
the amount of damages awarded to Ablaza by the
Currency, measured in the rate of exchange
trial court and found by the Court of Appeals to be prevailing at the time the obligation was incurred
"fair and reasonable." Again, after a review of the
(August, 1952), comprising of unrealized profits of
record, We do not find sufficient ground to disturb the
the plaintiff, Mrs. Paz Arrieta, in a case where a
appealed judgment even in this respect, except as to
government-owned corporation, the Naric failed to
attorney's fees.
proceed with the purchase of imported rice after
having accepted and approved the bid of Arrieta and
There are three principal items of damages awarded after she had already closed her contract with her
by the courts below, namely: (1) compensation for foreign sellers.
actual work done in the amount of P298,433.35, (2)
unrealized profits equivalent to 18% of the contract
Actually, the law on the matter is unequivocally
price of P3,749,000 or P674,820.00 and (3) 15% of expressed in Articles 2200 and 2201 of the Civil Code
the total recovery as attorney's fees in addition to the thus:
P5,000 already paid as retaining fee. All of these
items were the subject of evidence presented by the
parties. According to the Court of Appeals: ART. 2200. Identification for
damages shall comprehend not only
the value of the loss suffered, but
As regard the accuracy and also that of the profits, which the
reasonableness of the award for
obligee failed to obtain..
damages, both actual and
compensatory, it is to be noted that
the trial court subjected the ART. 2201. In contracts and quasi-
Commissioner's report and the contracts, the damages for which
evidence adduced therein to a the obligor who acted in good faith is
careful scrutiny. Thus, when the liable shall be those that are the
appellant called the trial court's natural and probable consequences
attention to the fact that the of the breach of the obligation, and
P814,190.00 unrealized expected which the parties have forseen or
profit being claimed by appellee could have reasonably foreseen at
represented 18% of P4,523,275.00 the time the obligation was
which was the estimated cost of the constituted.
project, while the contract awarded
to appellee was only in the amount In case of fraud, bad faith, malice or
of P3,749,000.00 as per its bid wanton attitude, the obligor shall be
proposal, the Court made the responsible for all damages which
necessary modification. It is further may be reasonably attributed to the
to be noted that the amount of 18% non- performance of the obligation.
of the estimated cost considered in

28
Construing these provisions, the following is what Regarding the actual damages
this Court held in Cerrano vs. Tan Chuco, 38 Phil. awarded to appellee, appellant
392: contends that they are unwarranted
inasmuch as appellee has failed to
.... Article 1106 (now 2200) of the adduce any evidence to substantiate
Civil Code establishes the rule that them even assuming arguendo that
prospective profits may be appellant has failed to supply the
recovered as damages, while article additional monthly 2,000,000 board
1107 (now 2201) of the same Code feet for the remainder of the period
provides that the damages agreed upon in the contract Exhibit
recoverable for the breach of A. Appellant maintains that for
obligations not originating in fraud appellee to be entitled to demand
(dolo) are those which were or might payment of sales that were not
have been foreseen at the time the effected it should have proved (1)
contract was entered into. Applying that there are actual sales made of
these principles to the facts in this appellee's logs which were not
case, we think that it is fulfilled, (2) that it had obtained the
unquestionable that defendant must best price for such sales, (3) that
be deemed to have foreseen at the there are buyers ready to buy at
time he made the contract that in the such price stating the volume they
event of his failure to perform it, the are ready to buy, and (4) appellee
plaintiff would be damaged by the could not cover the sales from the
loss of the profit he might reasonably logs of other suppliers. Since these
have expected to derive from its use. facts were not proven, appellee's
right to unearned commissions must
When the existence of a loss is fail.
established, absolute certainty as to
its amount is not required. The This argument must be overruled in
benefit to be derived from a contract the light of the law and evidence on
which one of the parties has the matter. Under Article 2200 of the
absolutely failed to perform is of Civil Code, indemnification for
necessity to some extent, a matter of damages comprehends not only the
speculation, but the injured party is value of the loss suffered but also
not to be denied all remedy for that that of the profits which the creditor
reason alone. He must produce the fails to obtain. In other
best evidence of which his case is words, lucrum cessans is also a
susceptible and if that evidence basis for indemnification. The
warrants the inference that he has question then that arises is: Has
been damaged by the loss of profits appellee failed to make profits
which he might with reasonable because of appellant's breach of
certainty have anticipated but for the contract, and in the affirmative, is
defendant's wrongful act, he is there here basis for determining with
entitled to recover. As stated in reasonable certainty such unearned
Sedgwick on Damages (Ninth Ed., profits?
par. 177):
Appellant's memorandum (p. 9)
The general rule is, then, that a shows that appellee has sold to
plaintiff may recover compensation Korea under the contract in question
for any gain which he can make it the following board feet of logs,
appear with reasonable certainty the Breareton Scale:
defendant's wrongful act prevented
him from acquiring, ...'. (See also Months Board Feet
Algarra vs. Sandejas, 27 Phil. Rep.,
284, 289; Hicks vs. Manila Hotel From June to August 1959
Co., 28 Phil. Rep., 325.) (At pp. 398- 3,007,435
399.) September, 1959 none
October, 1959 2,299,805
Later, in General Enterprises, Inc. vs. Lianga Bay November, 1959 801,021
Logging Co. Inc., 11 SCRA 733, Article 2200 of the December, 1959 1,297,510
Civil Code was again applied as follows:
Total 7,405,861

29
The above figures tally with those of accrue to appellee. The award
Exhibit N. In its brief (p. 141) therefore, made by the court a quo
appellant claims that in less than six of the amount of P400,000.00 as
months' time appellee received by compensatory damages is not
way of commission the amount of speculative, but based on
P117,859.54, while in its reasonable estimate.
memorandum, appellant makes the
following statement: In the light of these considerations, We cannot say
that the Court of Appeals erred in making the
`11. The invoice F.O.B. price of the aforementioned award of damages for unrealized
sale through plaintiff General is profits to respondent Ablaza.
P767,798.82 but the agreed F.O.B.
price was P799,319.00, the With respect to the award for attorney's fees, We
commission at 13% (F.O.B.) is believe that in line with the amount fixed in Lianga,
P117,859.54. But, as there were supra., an award of ten per centum (10%) of the
always two prices — Invoice F.O.B amount of the total recovery should be enough.
price and F.O.B. price as per
contract, because of the sales
PREMISES CONSIDERED, the decision of the Court
difference amounting to P31,920.18, of Appeals in this case is affirmed, with the
and the same was deducted from modification that the award for attorney's fees made
the commission, actually paid to
therein is hereby reduced to ten per centum (10%) of
plaintiff General is only P79,580.82.'
the total recovery of respondent Ablaza.
" It appears, therefore, that during
the period of June to December,
1959, in spite of the short delivery Costs against petitioner.
incurred by appellant, appellee had
been earning its commission Fernando (Chairman), Antonio, Aquino and
whenever logs were delivered to it. Concepcion, JJ., concur.
But from January, 1960, appellee
had ceased to earn any commission
because appellant failed to deliver
any log in violation of their
agreement. Had appellant continued
Republic of the Philippines
to deliver the logs as it was bound to SUPREME COURT
pursuant to the agreement it is Manila
reasonable to expect that it would
have continued earning its SECOND DIVISION
commission in much the same
manner as it used to in connection G.R. No. L-24803 May 26, 1977
with the previous shipments of logs,
which clearly indicates that it failed
PEDRO ELCANO and PATRICIA ELCANO, in
to earn the commissions it should
their capacity as Ascendants of Agapito
earn during this period of time. And
this commission is not difficult to
Elcano, deceased, plaintiffs-appellants,
estimate. Thus, during the
seventeen remaining months of the vs.
contract, at the rate of at least REGINALD HILL, minor, and MARVIN HILL, as
2,000,000 board feet, appellant father and Natural Guardian of said
should have delivered thirty-four minor, defendants-appellees.
million board feet. If we take the
number of board feet delivered Cruz & Avecilla for appellants.
during the months prior to the
interruption, namely, 7,405,861
Marvin R. Hill & Associates for appellees.
board feet, and the commission
received by appellee thereon, which
amounts to P79,580.82, we would BARREDO, J.:
have that appellee received a
commission of P.0107456 per board Appeal from the order of the Court of First Instance
feet. Multiplying 34 million board feet of Quezon City dated January 29, 1965 in Civil
by P.0107456, the product is Case No. Q-8102, Pedro Elcano et al. vs. Reginald
P365,350.40, which represents Hill et al. dismissing, upon motion to dismiss of
the lucrum cessans that should defendants, the complaint of plaintiffs for recovery

30
of damages from defendant Reginald Hill, a minor, THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN
married at the time of the occurrence, and his DISMISSING THE CASE BY
father, the defendant Marvin Hill, with whom he UPHOLDING THE CLAIM OF
was living and getting subsistence, for the killing DEFENDANTS THAT -
by Reginald of the son of the plaintiffs, named
Agapito Elcano, of which, when criminally I
prosecuted, the said accused was acquitted on the
ground that his act was not criminal, because of THE PRESENT ACTION IS NOT ONLY
"lack of intent to kill, coupled with mistake." AGAINST BUT ALSO A VIOLATION OF
SECTION 1, RULE 107, NOW RULE 111,
Actually, the motion to dismiss based on the OF THE REVISED RULES OF COURT,
following grounds: AND THAT SECTION 3(c) OF RULE 111,
RULES OF COURT IS APPLICABLE;
1. The present action is not only against
but a violation of section 1, Rule 107, II
which is now Rule III, of the Revised Rules
of Court; THE ACTION IS BARRED BY A PRIOR
JUDGMENT WHICH IS NOW FINAL OR
2. The action is barred by a prior judgment RES-ADJUDICTA;
which is now final and or in res-adjudicata;
III
3. The complaint had no cause of action
against defendant Marvin Hill, because he THE PRINCIPLES OF QUASI-DELICTS,
was relieved as guardian of the other ARTICLES 2176 TO 2194 OF THE CIVIL
defendant through emancipation by CODE, ARE INAPPLICABLE IN THE
marriage. INSTANT CASE; and

(P. 23, Record [p. 4, Record on Appeal.]) IV

was first denied by the trial court. It was only upon THAT THE COMPLAINT STATES NO
motion for reconsideration of the defendants of CAUSE OF ACTION AGAINST
such denial, reiterating the above grounds that the DEFENDANT MARVIN HILL BECAUSE
following order was issued: HE WAS RELIEVED AS GUARDIAN OF
THE OTHER DEFENDANT THROUGH
Considering the motion for reconsideration EMANCIPATION BY MARRIAGE. (page
filed by the defendants on January 14, 4, Record.)
1965 and after thoroughly examining the
arguments therein contained, the Court It appears that for the killing of the son, Agapito, of
finds the same to be meritorious and well- plaintiffs-appellants, defendant- appellee Reginald
founded. Hill was prosecuted criminally in Criminal Case
No. 5102 of the Court of First Instance of Quezon
WHEREFORE, the Order of this Court on City. After due trial, he was acquitted on the
December 8, 1964 is hereby reconsidered ground that his act was not criminal because of
by ordering the dismissal of the above "lack of intent to kill, coupled with mistake."
entitled case. Parenthetically, none of the parties has favored Us
with a copy of the decision of acquittal, presumably
SO ORDERED. because appellants do not dispute that such
indeed was the basis stated in the court's decision.
Quezon City, Philippines, January 29, And so, when appellants filed their complaint
1965. (p. 40, Record [p. 21, Record on against appellees Reginald and his father, Atty.
Appeal.) Marvin Hill, on account of the death of their son,
the appellees filed the motion to dismiss above-
Hence, this appeal where plaintiffs-appellants, the referred to.
spouses Elcano, are presenting for Our resolution
the following assignment of errors: As We view the foregoing background of this case,
the two decisive issues presented for Our
resolution are:

31
1. Is the present civil action for damages barred by recognized, even with regard to a
the acquittal of Reginald in the criminal case negligent act for which the wrongdoer
wherein the action for civil liability, was not could have been prosecuted and
reversed? convicted in a criminal case and for which,
after such a conviction, he could have
2. May Article 2180 (2nd and last paragraphs) of been sued for this civil liability arising from
the Civil Code he applied against Atty. Hill, his crime. (p. 617, 73 Phil.) 2
notwithstanding the undisputed fact that at the
time of the occurrence complained of. Reginald, It is most significant that in the case just
though a minor, living with and getting subsistenee cited, this Court specifically applied article
from his father, was already legally married? 1902 of the Civil Code. It is thus that although
J. V. House could have been criminally
The first issue presents no more problem than the prosecuted for reckless or simple negligence
and not only punished but also made civilly
need for a reiteration and further clarification of the
liable because of his criminal negligence,
dual character, criminal and civil, of fault or
nevertheless this Court awarded damages in
negligence as a source of obligation which was an independent civil action for fault or
firmly established in this jurisdiction in Barredo vs. negligence under article 1902 of the Civil
Garcia, 73 Phil. 607. In that case, this Court Code. (p. 618, 73 Phil.) 3
postulated, on the basis of a scholarly dissertation
by Justice Bocobo on the nature of culpa
The legal provisions, authors, and cases
aquiliana in relation to culpa criminal or delito and
already invoked should ordinarily be
mere culpa or fault, with pertinent citation of
sufficient to dispose of this case. But
decisions of the Supreme Court of Spain, the
inasmuch as we are announcing doctrines
works of recognized civilians, and earlier
that have been little understood, in the
jurisprudence of our own, that the same given act
past, it might not he inappropriate to
can result in civil liability not only under the Penal
indicate their foundations.
Code but also under the Civil Code. Thus, the
opinion holds:
Firstly, the Revised Penal Code in articles
365 punishes not only reckless but also
The, above case is pertinent because it
simple negligence. If we were to hold that
shows that the same act machinist. come
articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil Code
under both the Penal Code and the Civil
refer only to fault or negligence not
Code. In that case, the action of the agent
punished by law, accordingly to the literal
killeth unjustified and fraudulent and
import of article 1093 of the Civil Code, the
therefore could have been the subject of a
legal institution of culpa aquiliana would
criminal action. And yet, it was held to be
have very little scope and application in
also a proper subject of a civil action under
actual life. Death or injury to persons and
article 1902 of the Civil Code. It is also to
damage to property- through any degree
be noted that it was the employer and not
of negligence - even the slightest - would
the employee who was being sued. (pp.
have to be Idemnified only through the
615-616, 73 Phil.). 1
principle of civil liability arising from a
crime. In such a state of affairs, what
It will be noticed that the defendant in the sphere would remain for cuasi-
above case could have been prosecuted in delito or culpa aquiliana? We are loath to
a criminal case because his negligence impute to the lawmaker any intention to
causing the death of the child was bring about a situation so absurd and
punishable by the Penal Code. Here is anomalous. Nor are we, in the
therefore a clear instance of the same act interpretation of the laws, disposed to
of negligence being a proper subject uphold the letter that killeth rather than the
matter either of a criminal action with its spirit that giveth life. We will not use the
consequent civil liability arising from a literal meaning of the law to smother and
crime or of an entirely separate and render almost lifeless a principle of such
independent civil action for fault or ancient origin and such full-grown
negligence under article 1902 of the Civil development as culpa aquiliana or cuasi-
Code. Thus, in this jurisdiction, the delito, which is conserved and made
separate individuality of a cuasi- enduring in articles 1902 to 1910 of the
delito or culpa aquiliana, under the Civil Spanish Civil Code.
Code has been fully and clearly

32
Secondary, to find the accused guilty in a Contrary to an immediate impression one might
criminal case, proof of guilt beyond get upon a reading of the foregoing excerpts from
reasonable doubt is required, while in a the opinion in Garcia that the concurrence of the
civil case, preponderance of evidence is Penal Code and the Civil Code therein referred to
sufficient to make the defendant pay in contemplate only acts of negligence and not
damages. There are numerous cases of intentional voluntary acts - deeper reflection would
criminal negligence which can not be reveal that the thrust of the pronouncements
shown beyond reasonable doubt, but can therein is not so limited, but that in fact it actually
be proved by a preponderance of extends to fault or culpa. This can be seen in the
evidence. In such cases, the defendant reference made therein to the Sentence of the
can and should be made responsible in a Supreme Court of Spain of February 14, 1919,
civil action under articles 1902 to 1910 of supra, which involved a case of fraud or estafa, not
the Civil Code. Otherwise. there would be a negligent act. Indeed, Article 1093 of the Civil
many instances of unvindicated civil Code of Spain, in force here at the time of Garcia,
wrongs. "Ubi jus Idemnified remedium." (p. provided textually that obligations "which are
620,73 Phil.) derived from acts or omissions in which fault or
negligence, not punishable by law, intervene shall
Fourthly, because of the broad sweep of be the subject of Chapter II, Title XV of this book
the provisions of both the Penal Code and (which refers to quasi-delicts.)" And it is precisely
the Civil Code on this subject, which has the underline qualification, "not punishable by
given rise to the overlapping or law", that Justice Bocobo emphasized could lead
concurrence of spheres already to an ultimo construction or interpretation of the
discussed, and for lack of understanding of letter of the law that "killeth, rather than the spirit
the character and efficacy of the action that giveth lift- hence, the ruling that "(W)e will not
for culpa aquiliana, there has grown up a use the literal meaning of the law to smother and
common practice to seek damages only by render almost lifeless a principle of such ancient
virtue of the civil responsibility arising from origin and such full-grown development as culpa
a crime, forgetting that there is another aquiliana or quasi-delito, which is conserved and
remedy, which is by invoking articles 1902- made enduring in articles 1902 to 1910 of the
1910 of the Civil Code. Although this Spanish Civil Code." And so, because Justice
habitual method is allowed by, our laws, it Bacobo was Chairman of the Code Commission
has nevertheless rendered practically that drafted the original text of the new Civil Code,
useless and nugatory the more it is to be noted that the said Code, which was
expeditious and effective remedy based enacted after the Garcia doctrine, no longer uses
on culpa aquiliana or culpa extra- the term, 11 not punishable by law," thereby
contractual. In the present case, we are making it clear that the concept of culpa
asked to help perpetuate this usual aquiliana includes acts which are criminal in
course. But we believe it is high time we character or in violation of the penal law, whether
pointed out to the harms done by such voluntary or matter. Thus, the corresponding
practice and to restore the principle of provisions to said Article 1093 in the new code,
responsibility for fault or negligence under which is Article 1162, simply says, "Obligations
articles 1902 et seq. of the Civil Code to its derived from quasi-delicto shall be governed by
full rigor. It is high time we caused the the provisions of Chapter 2, Title XVII of this Book,
stream of quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana to (on quasi-delicts) and by special laws." More
flow on its own natural channel, so that its precisely, a new provision, Article 2177 of the new
waters may no longer be diverted into that code provides:
of a crime under the Penal Code. This will,
it is believed, make for the better ART. 2177. Responsibility for fault or
safeguarding or private rights because it negligence under the preceding article is
realtor, an ancient and additional remedy, entirely separate and distinct from the civil
and for the further reason that an liability arising from negligence under the
independent civil action, not depending on Penal Code. But the plaintiff cannot
the issues, limitations and results of a recover damages twice for the same act or
criminal prosecution, and entirely directed omission of the defendant.
by the party wronged or his counsel, is
more likely to secure adequate and According to the Code Commission: "The
efficacious redress. (p. 621, 73 Phil.) foregoing provision (Article 2177) through at first
sight startling, is not so novel or extraordinary
when we consider the exact nature of criminal and

33
civil negligence. The former is a violation of the criminal act charged has not happened or has not
criminal law, while the latter is a "culpa aquiliana" been committed by the accused. Briefly stated, We
or quasi-delict, of ancient origin, having always here hold, in reiteration of Garcia, that culpa
had its own foundation and individuality, separate aquiliana includes voluntary and negligent acts
from criminal negligence. Such distinction which may be punishable by law.4
between criminal negligence and "culpa
extracontractual" or "cuasi-delito" has been It results, therefore, that the acquittal of Reginal
sustained by decision of the Supreme Court of Hill in the criminal case has not extinguished his
Spain and maintained as clear, sound and liability for quasi-delict, hence that acquittal is not
perfectly tenable by Maura, an outstanding a bar to the instant action against him.
Spanish jurist. Therefore, under the proposed
Article 2177, acquittal from an accusation of Coming now to the second issue about the effect
criminal negligence, whether on reasonable doubt of Reginald's emancipation by marriage on the
or not, shall not be a bar to a subsequent civil possible civil liability of Atty. Hill, his father, it is
action, not for civil liability arising from criminal also Our considered opinion that the conclusion of
negligence, but for damages due to a quasi-delict appellees that Atty. Hill is already free from
or 'culpa aquiliana'. But said article forestalls a responsibility cannot be upheld.
double recovery.", (Report of the Code)
Commission, p. 162.)
While it is true that parental authority is terminated
upon emancipation of the child (Article 327, Civil
Although, again, this Article 2177 does seem to Code), and under Article 397, emancipation takes
literally refer to only acts of negligence, the same place "by the marriage of the minor (child)", it is,
argument of Justice Bacobo about construction however, also clear that pursuant to Article 399,
that upholds "the spirit that giveth lift- rather than emancipation by marriage of the minor is not really
that which is literal that killeth the intent of the full or absolute. Thus "(E)mancipation by marriage
lawmaker should be observed in applying the or by voluntary concession shall terminate
same. And considering that the preliminary parental authority over the child's person. It shall
chapter on human relations of the new Civil Code enable the minor to administer his property as
definitely establishes the separability and though he were of age, but he cannot borrow
independence of liability in a civil action for acts money or alienate or encumber real property
criminal in character (under Articles 29 to 32) from without the consent of his father or mother, or
the civil responsibility arising from crime fixed by guardian. He can sue and be sued in court only
Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, and, in a with the assistance of his father, mother or
sense, the Rules of Court, under Sections 2 and 3 guardian."
(c), Rule 111, contemplate also the same
separability, it is "more congruent with the spirit of
Now under Article 2180, "(T)he obligation imposed
law, equity and justice, and more in harmony with
by article 2176 is demandable not only for one's
modern progress"- to borrow the felicitous relevant
own acts or omissions, but also for those of
language in Rakes vs. Atlantic. Gulf and Pacific
persons for whom one is responsible. The father
Co., 7 Phil. 359, to hold, as We do hold, that Article
and, in case of his death or incapacity, the mother,
2176, where it refers to "fault or negligencia covers
are responsible. The father and, in case of his
not only acts "not punishable by law" but also acts
death or incapacity, the mother, are responsible
criminal in character, whether intentional and
for the damages caused by the minor children who
voluntary or negligent. Consequently, a separate
live in their company." In the instant case, it is not
civil action lies against the offender in a criminal
controverted that Reginald, although married, was
act, whether or not he is criminally prosecuted and
living with his father and getting subsistence from
found guilty or acquitted, provided that the
him at the time of the occurrence in question.
offended party is not allowed, if he is actually
Factually, therefore, Reginald was still subservient
charged also criminally, to recover damages on
to and dependent on his father, a situation which
both scores, and would be entitled in such
is not unusual.
eventuality only to the bigger award of the two,
assuming the awards made in the two cases vary.
In other words, the extinction of civil liability It must be borne in mind that, according to
referred to in Par. (e) of Section 3, Rule 111, refers Manresa, the reason behind the joint and solidary
exclusively to civil liability founded on Article 100 liability of presuncion with their offending child
of the Revised Penal Code, whereas the civil under Article 2180 is that is the obligation of the
liability for the same act considered as a quasi- parent to supervise their minor children in order to
delict only and not as a crime is not estinguished prevent them from causing damage to third
even by a declaration in the criminal case that the persons. 5 On the other hand, the clear implication of

34
Article 399, in providing that a minor emancipated by expressed is undoubtedly board enough to include
marriage may not, nevertheless, sue or be sued any rational conception of liability for the tortious
without the assistance of the parents, is that such acts likely to be developed in any society." (Street,
emancipation does not carry with it freedom to enter J. in Daywalt vs. Corporacion de PP. Agustinos
into transactions or do any act that can give rise to Recoletos, 39 Phil. 587, 600). See article 38, Civil
judicial litigation. (See Manresa, Id., Vol. II, pp. 766- Code and the ruling that "the infant tortfeasor is
767, 776.) And surely, killing someone else invites liable in a civil action to the injured person in the
judicial action. Otherwise stated, the marriage of a same manner and to the same extent as an adult"
minor child does not relieve the parents of the duty to (27 Am. Jur. 812 cited by Bocobo, J., in Magtibay
see to it that the child, while still a minor, does not
vs. Tiangco, 74 Phil. 576, 579).
give answerable for the borrowings of money and
alienation or encumbering of real property which
cannot be done by their minor married child without
their consent. (Art. 399; Manresa, supra.) Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Accordingly, in Our considered view, Article 2180 Manila
applies to Atty. Hill notwithstanding the
emancipation by marriage of Reginald. However, EN BANC
inasmuch as it is evident that Reginald is now of
age, as a matter of equity, the liability of Atty. Hill G.R. No. L-24837 June 27, 1968
has become milling, subsidiary to that of his son.
JULIAN C. SINGSON and RAMONA DEL
WHEREFORE, the order appealed from is CASTILLO, plaintiffs,
reversed and the trial court is ordered to proceed vs.
in accordance with the foregoing opinion. Costs BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS and
against appellees. SANTIAGO FREIXAS, in his capacity as
President of the said Bank, defendants.
Fernando (Chairman), Antonio, and Martin, JJ.,
concur. Gil B. Galang for plaintiffs.
Concepcon Jr., J, is on leave.
Martin, J, was designated to sit in the Second Aviado and Aranda for defendants.
Division.
CONCEPCION, C.J.:
Separate Opinions
Appeal by plaintiffs, Julian Singson and his wife,
AQUINO, J, concurring: Ramona del Castillo, from a decision of the Court
of First Instance of Manila dismissing their
Article 2176 of the Civil Code comprehends any complaint against defendants herein, the Bank of
culpable act, which is blameworthy, when judged the Philippine Islands and Santiago Freixas.
by accepted legal standards. "The Idea thus
expressed is undoubtedly board enough to include It appears that Singson, was one of the defendants
any rational conception of liability for the tortious in civil case No. 23906 of the Court of First
acts likely to be developed in any society." (Street, Instance, Manila, in which judgment had been
J. in Daywalt vs. Corporacion de PP. Agustinos rendered sentencing him and his co-defendants
Recoletos, 39 Phil. 587, 600). See article 38, Civil therein, namely, Celso Lobregat and Villa-Abrille &
Code and the ruling that "the infant tortfeasor is Co., to pay the sum of P105,539.56 to the plaintiff
liable in a civil action to the injured person in the therein, Philippine Milling Co. Singson and
same manner and to the same extent as an adult" Lobregat had seasonably appealed from said
(27 Am. Jur. 812 cited by Bocobo, J., in Magtibay judgment, but not Villa-Abrille & Co., as against
vs. Tiangco, 74 Phil. 576, 579). which said judgment, accordingly, became final
and executory. In due course, a writ of
Separate Opinions garnishment was subsequently served upon the
Bank of the Philippine Islands — in which the
AQUINO, J, concurring: Singsons had a current account — insofar as Villa-
Abrille's credits against the Bank were concerned.
Article 2176 of the Civil Code comprehends any What happened thereafter is set forth in the
culpable act, which is blameworthy, when judged decision appealed from, from which we quote:
by accepted legal standards. "The Idea thus

35
Upon receipt of the said Writ of written by the said official of the bank on
Garnishment, a clerk of the bank in charge April 22, 1963 to the Special Sheriff
of all matters of execution and informing him that his letter dated April 17,
garnishment, upon reading the name of 1963 to the said Special Sheriff was
the plaintiff herein in the title of the Writ of considered cancelled and that they had
Garnishment as a party defendants, already removed the Notice of
without further reading the body of the said Garnishment from plaintiff Singson's
garnishment and informing himself that account. Thus, the defendants lost no time
said garnishment was merely intended for to rectify the mistake that had been
the deposits of defendant Villa-Abrille & inadvertently committed, resulting in the
Co., Valentin Teus, Fernando F. de Villa- temporary freezing of the account of the
Abrille and Joaquin Bona, prepared a letter plaintiff with the said bank for a short time.
for the signature of the President of the
Bank informing the plaintiff Julian C. xxx xxx xxx
Singson of the garnishment of his deposits
by the plaintiff in that case. Another letter On May 8, 1963, the Singsong commenced the
was also prepared and signed by the said present action against the Bank and its president,
President of the Bank for the Special Santiago Freixas, for damages1 in consequence of
Sheriff dated April 17, 1963. said illegal freezing of plaintiffs' account.
1äw phï1.ñët

Subsequently, two checks issued by the After appropriate proceedings, the Court of First
plaintiff Julian C. Singson, one for the Instance of Manila rendered judgment dismissing
amount of P383 in favor of B. M. Glass the complaint upon the ground that plaintiffs
Service dated April 16, 1963 and bearing cannot recover from the defendants upon the
No. C-424852, and check No. C-394996 basis of a quasi-delict, because the relation
for the amount of P100 in favor of the Lega between the parties is contractual in nature;
Corporation, and drawn against the said because this case does not fall under Article 2219
Bank, were deposited by the said drawers of our Civil Code, upon which plaintiffs rely; and
with the said bank. Believing that the because plaintiffs have not established the amount
plaintiff Singson, the drawer of the check, of damages allegedly sustained by them.
had no more control over the balance of
his deposits in the said bank, the checks
The lower court held that plaintiffs' claim for
were dishonored and were refused
damages cannot be based upon a tort or quasi-
payment by the said bank. After the first
delict, their relation with the defendants being
check was returned by the bank to the B.
contractual in nature. We have repeatedly held,
M. Glass Service, the latter wrote plaintiff
however, that the existence of a contract between
Julian C. Singson a letter, dated April 19,
the parties does not bar the commission of a tort
1963, advising him that his check for
by the one against the order and the consequent
P383.00 bearing No. C-424852 was not
recovery of damages therefor.2 Indeed, this view
honored by the bank for the reason that his
has been, in effect, reiterated in a comparatively
account therein had already been
recent case. Thus, in Air France vs.
garnished. The said B. M. Glass Service
Carrascoso,3 involving an airplane passenger
further stated in the said letter that they
who, despite his first-class ticket, had been
were constrained to close his credit
illegally ousted from his first-class accommodation
account with them. In view thereof, plaintiff
and compelled to take a seat in the tourist
Julian C. Singson wrote the defendant
compartment, was held entitled to recover
bank a letter on April 19, 1963, claiming
damages from the air-carrier, upon the ground of
that his name was not included in the Writ
tort on the latter's part, for, although the relation
of Execution and Notice of Garnishment,
between a passenger and a carrier is "contractual
which was served upon the bank. The
both in origin and nature ... the act that breaks the
defendant President Santiago Freixas of
contract may also be a tort".
the said bank took steps to verify this
information and after having confirmed the
same, apologized to the plaintiff Julian C. In view, however, of the facts obtaining in the case
Singson and wrote him a letter dated April at bar, and considering, particularly, the
22, 1963, requesting him to disregard their circumstance, that the wrong done to the plaintiff
letter of April 17, 1963, and that the action was remedied as soon as the President of the
of garnishment from his account had bank realized the mistake he and his subordinate
already been removed. A similar letter was employee had committed, the Court finds that an

36
award of nominal damages — the amount of which Tumol with reckless imprudence resulting in
need not be proven4 — in the sum of P1,000, in double homicide and damage to property, reading
addition to attorney's fees in the sum of P500, as follows:
would suffice to vindicate plaintiff's rights.5
That on or about the 20th day of June,
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is 1989, in the Municipality of Cauayan,
hereby reversed, and another one shall be entered Province of Isabela, Philippines, and within
sentencing the defendant Bank of the Philippine the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
Islands to pay to the plaintiffs said sums of P1,000, said accused being the driver and person-
as nominal damages, and P500, as attorney's in-charge of a Trailer Truck Tractor
fees, apart from the costs. It is so ordered. bearing Plate No. N2A-867 registered in
the name of Rafael Reyes Trucking
Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Corporation, with a load of 2,000 cases of
Sanchez, Castro and Angeles, JJ., concur. empty bottles of beer grande, willfully,
Fernando, J., took no part. unlawfully and feloniously drove and
operated the same while along the
National Highway of Barangay Tagaran, in
said Municipality, in a negligent, careless
and imprudent manner, without due regard
to traffic laws, rules and ordinances and
without taking the necessary precautions
to prevent injuries to persons and damage
to property, causing by such negligence,
EN BANC carelessness and imprudence the said
trailer truck to hit and bump a Nissan Pick-
G.R. No. 129029 April 3, 2000 up bearing Plate No. BBG-957 driven by
Feliciano Balcita and Francisco Dy, Jr., @
RAFAEL REYES TRUCKING Pacquing, due to irreversible shock,
CORPORATION, petitioner, internal and external hemorrhage and
vs. multiple injuries, open wounds, abrasions,
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and ROSARIO and further causing damages to the heirs
P. DY (for herself and on behalf of the minors of Feliciano Balcita in the amount of
Maria Luisa, Francis Edward, Francis Mark and P100,000.00 and to the death of Francisco
Francis Rafael, all surnamed Dy), respondents. Dy, Jr.; @ Pacquing and damages to his
Nissan Pick-Up bearing Plate No. BBG-
PARDO, J.: 957 in the total amount of P2,000,000.00.

The case is an appeal via certiorari from the CONTRARY TO LAW.


amended decision 1 of the Court of
Appeals2 affirming the decision and supplemental Cauayan, Isabela, October 10, 1989.
decision of the trial court,3 as follows:
(Sgd.) FAUSTO C. CABANTAC
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, judgment Third Assistant Provincial Prosecutor
is hereby rendered dismissing the appeals
interposed by both accused and Reyes Upon arraignment on October 23, 1989, the
Trucking Corporation and affirming the accused entered a plea of not guilty. On the same
Decision and Supplemental Decision occasion, the offended parties (Rosario P. Dy and
dated June 6, 1992 and October 26, 1992 minor children and Angelina M. Balcita and minor
respectively. son Paolo) made a reservation to file a separate
civil action against the accused arising from the
SO ORDERED.4 offense charged.5 On November 29, 1989, the
offended parties actually filed with the Regional
The facts are as follows: Trial Court, Isabela, Branch 19, Cauayan a
complaint against petitioner Rafael Reyes
On October 10, 1989, Provincial Prosecutor Trucking Corporation, as employer of driver
Patricio T. Durian of Isabela filed with the Regional Romeo Dunca y de Tumol, based on quasi delict.
Trial Court, Isabela, Branch 19, Cauayan an The petitioner settled the claim of the heirs of
amended information charging Romeo Dunca y de Feliciano Balcita (the driver of the other vehicle

37
involved in the accident). The private respondents five to six inches deep. The left lane
opted to pursue the criminal action but did not parallel to this damaged portion is smooth.
withdraw the civil case quasi ex delicto they filed As narrated by Ferdinand Domingo, before
against petitioner. On December 15, 1989, private approaching the potholes, he and Dunca
respondents withdrew the reservation to file a saw the Nissan with its headlights on
separate civil action against the accused and coming from the opposite direction. They
manifested that they would prosecute the civil used to evade this damaged road by taking
aspect ex delicto in the criminal action.6 However, the left lance but at that particular moment,
they did not withdraw the separate civil action because of the incoming vehicle, they had
based on quasi delict against petitioner as to run over it. This caused the truck to
employer arising from the same act or omission of bounce wildly. Dunca lost control of the
the accused driver.7 wheels and the truck swerved to the left
invading the lane of the Nissan. As a
Upon agreement of the parties, the trial court result, Dunca's vehicle rammed the
consolidated both criminal and civil cases and incoming Nissan dragging it to the left
conducted a joint trial of the same. shoulder of the road and climbed a ridge
above said shoulder where it finally
The facts, as found by the trial court, which appear stopped. (see Exh. A-5, p. 8, record). The
to be undisputed, are as follows: Nissan was severely damaged (Exhs. A-7,
A-8, A-9 and A-14, pp. 9-11 record), and
its two passengers, namely: Feliciano
The defendant Rafael Reyes Trucking
Balcita and Francisco Dy, Jr. died instantly
Corporation is a domestic corporation
(Exh. A-19) from external and internal
engaged in the business of transporting
hemorrhage and multiple fractures (pp. 15
beer products for the San Miguel
and 16, record).
Corporation (SMC for Short) from the
latter's San Fernando, Pampanga plant to
its various sales outlets in Luzon. Among For the funeral expenses of Francisco Dy,
its fleets of vehicles for hire is the white Jr. her widow spent P651,360.00 (Exh. I-
truck trailer described above driven by 3). At the time of his death he was 45 years
Romeo Dunca y Tumol, a duly licensed old. He was the President and Chairman
driver. Aside from the Corporation's of the Board of the Dynamic Wood
memorandum to all its drivers and helpers Products and Development Corporation
to physically inspect their vehicles before (DWPC), a wood processing
each trip (Exh. 15, pars. 4 & 5), the SMC's establishment, from which he was
Traffic Investigator-Inspector certified the receiving an income of P10,000.00 a
roadworthiness of this White Truck trailer month. (Exh. D). In the Articles of
prior to June 20, 1989 (Exh. 17). In Incorporation of the DWPC, the spouses
addition to a professional driver's license, Francisco Dy, Jr. and Rosario Perez Dy
it also conducts a rigid examination of all appear to be stockholders of 10,000
driver applicants before they are hired. shares each with par value of P100.00 per
share out of its outstanding and
subscribed capital stock of 60,000 shares
In the early morning of June 20, 1989, the
valued at P6,000,000.00 (Exhs. K-1 & 10-
White Truck driven by Dunca left
B). Under its 1988 Income Tax Returns
Tuguegarao, Cagayan bound to San
(Exh. J) the DWPC had a taxable net
Fernando, Pampanga loaded with 2,000
income of P78,499.30 (Exh. J). Francisco
cases of empty beer "Grande" bottles.
Dy, Jr. was a La Salle University graduate
Seated at the front right seat beside him
in Business Administration, past president
was Ferdinand Domingo, his truck helper
of the Pasay Jaycees, National Treasurer
("pahinante" in Pilipino). At around 4:00
and President of the Philippine Jaycees in
o'clock that same morning while the truck
1971 and 1976, respectively, and World
was descending at a slight downgrade
Vice-President of Jaycees International in
along the national road at Tagaran,
1979. He was also the recipient of
Cauayan, Isabela, it approached a
numerous awards as a civic leader (Exh.
damaged portion of the road covering the
C). His children were all studying in
full width of the truck's right lane going
prestigious schools and spent about
south and about six meters in length.
P180,000.00 for their education in 1988
These made the surface of the road
alone (Exh. H-4).
uneven because the potholes were about

38
As stated earlier, the plaintiffs' 3. Ordering the dismissal of the complaint
procurement of a writ of attachment of the in Civil Case No. Br. 19-424.
properties of the Corporation was declared
illegal by the Court of Appeals. It was No pronouncement as to costs.
shown that on December 26, 1989, Deputy
Sheriff Edgardo Zabat of the RTC at San SO ORDERED.
Fernando, Pampanga, attached six units
of Truck Tractors and trailers of the
Cauayan, Isabela, June 6, 1992.
Corporation at its garage at San Fernando,
Pampanga. These vehicles were kept
under PC guard by the plaintiffs in said (Sgd.) ARTEMIO R. ALIVIA
garage thus preventing the Corporation to Regional Trial Judge9
operate them. However, on December 28,
1989, the Court of Appeals dissolved the On September 3, 1992, petitioner and the accused
writ (p. 30, record) and on December 29, filed a notice of appeal from the joint decision. 10
1989, said Sheriff reported to this Court
that the attached vehicles were taken by On the other hand, private respondents moved for
the defendant's representative, Melita amendment of the dispositive portion of the joint
Manapil (Exh. O, p. 31, record). The decision so as to hold petitioner subsidiarily liable
defendant's general Manager declared for the damages awarded to the private
that it lost P21,000.00 per day for the non- respondents in the event of insolvency of the
operation of the six units during their accused. 11
attachment (p. 31, t.s.n., Natividad C.
Babaran, proceedings on December 10, On October 26, 1992, the trial court rendered a
1990).8 supplemental decision amending the dispositive
portion by inserting an additional paragraph
On June 6, 1992, the trial court rendered a joint reading as follows:
decision, the dispositive portion of which reads as
follows: 2:A — Ordering the defendant Reyes
Trucking Corporation subsidiarily liable for
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing all the damages awarded to the heirs of
considerations judgment is hereby Francisco Dy, Jr., in the event of
rendered: insolvency of the accused but deducting
therefrom the damages of P84,000.00
1. Finding the accused Romeo Dunca y de awarded to said defendant in the next
Tumol guilty beyond reasonable doubt of preceding paragraph; and . . . 12
the crime of Double Homicide through
Reckless Imprudence with violation of the On November 12, 1992, petitioner filed with the
Motor Vehicle Law (Rep. Act No. 4136), trial court a supplemental notice of appeal from the
and appreciating in his favor the mitigating supplemental decision. 13
circumstance of voluntary surrender
without any aggravating circumstance to During the pendency of the appeal, the accused
offset the same, the Court hereby jumped bail and fled to a foreign country. By
sentences him to suffer two (2) resolution dated December 29, 1994, the Court of
indeterminate penalties of four months and Appeals dismissed the appeal of the accused in
one day of arresto mayor as minimum to the criminal case. 14
three years, six months and twenty days
as maximum; to indemnify the Heirs of On January 6, 1997, the Court of Appeals
Francisco Dy. Jr. in the amount of rendered an amended decision affirming that of
P3,000,000.00 as compensatory the trial court, as set out in the opening paragraph
damages, P1,000,000.00 as moral of this decision. 15
damages, and P1,030,000.00 as funeral
expenses;
On January 31, 1997, petitioner filed a motion for
reconsideration of the amended decision. 16
2. Ordering the plaintiff in Civil Case No.
Br. 19-424 to pay the defendant therein On April 21, 1997, the Court of Appeals denied
actual damages in the amount of petitioner's motion for reconsideration for lack of
P84,000.00; and merit 17

39
Hence, this petition for review. 18 liability quasi delicto" either of which "may be
enforced against the culprit, subject to the caveat
On July 21, 1997, the Court required respondents under Article 2177 of the Civil Code that the
to comment on the petition within ten (10) days offended party can not recover damages under
from notice. 19 both types of liability." 24

On January 27, 1998, the Solicitor General filed his In the instant case, the offended parties elected to
comment. 20 On April 13, 1998, the Court granted file a separate civil action for damages against
leave to petitioner to file a reply and noted the reply petitioner as employer of the accused, based
it filed on March 11, 1998. 21 on quasi delict, under Article 2176 of the Civil
Code of the Philippines. Private respondents sued
We now resolve to give due course to the petition petitioner Rafael Reyes Trucking Corporation, as
and decide the case. the employer of the accused, to be vicariously
liable for the fault or negligence of the latter. Under
the law, this vicarious liability of the employer is
Petitioner raises three (3) grounds for allowance of
founded on at least two specific provisions of law.
the petition, which, however, boil down to two (2)
basic issues, namely:
The first is expressed in Article 2176 in relation to
Article 2180 of the Civil Code, which would allow
1. May petitioner as owner of the truck
an action predicated on quasi-delict to be
involved in the accident be held
instituted by the injured party against the employer
subsidiarily liable for the damages
for an act or omission of the employee and would
awarded to the offended parties in the
necessitate only a preponderance of evidence to
criminal action against the truck driver
prevail. Here, the liability of the employer for the
despite the filing of a separate civil action
negligent conduct of the subordinate is direct and
by the offended parties against the
primary, subject to the defense of due diligence in
employer of the truck driver?
the selection and supervision of the employee.
The enforcement of the judgment against the
2. May the Court award damages to the employer in an action based on Article 2176 does
offended parties in the criminal case not require the employee to be insolvent since the
despite the filing of a civil action against nature of the liability of the employer with that of
the employer of the truck driver; and in the employee, the two being statutorily considered
amounts exceeding that alleged in the joint tortfeasors, is solidary. 25 The second,
information for reckless imprudence predicated on Article 103 of the Revised Penal
resulting in homicide and damage to Code, provides that an employer may be held
property? 22 subsidiarily civilly liable for a felony committed by
his employee in the discharge of his duty. This
We grant the petition, resolving under the liability attaches when the employee is convicted
circumstances pro hac vice to remand the cases of a crime done in the performance of his work and
to the trial court for determination of the civil liability is found to be insolvent that renders him unable to
of petitioner as employer of the accused driver in properly respond to the civil liability adjudged. 26
the civil action quasi ex delicto re-opened for the
purpose. As regards the first issue, the answer is in the
negative. Rafael Reyes Trucking Corporation, as
In negligence cases, the aggrieved party has the employer of the accused who has been adjudged
choice between (1) an action to enforce civil guilty in the criminal case for reckless imprudence,
liability arising from crime under Article 100 of the can not be held subsidiarily liable because of the
Revised Penal Code; and (2) a separate action filing of the separate civil action based on quasi
for quasi delict under Article 2176 of the Civil Code delict against it. In view of the reservation to file,
of the Philippines. Once the choice is made, the and the subsequent filing of the civil action for
injured party can not avail himself of any other recovery of civil liability, the same was not
remedy because he may not recover damages instituted with the criminal action. Such separate
twice for the same negligent act or omission of the civil action was for recovery of damages under
accused. 23 This is the rule against double Article 2176 of the Civil Code, arising from the
recovery. 1âw phi 1.nêt

same act or omission of the accused. 27

In other words, "the same act or omission can Pursuant to the provision of Rule 111, Section 1,
create two kinds of liability on the part of the paragraph 3 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal
offender, that is, civil liability ex delicto, and civil

40
Procedure, when private respondents, as consideration is meant to cover all kinds of civil
complainants in the criminal action, reserved the actions, regardless of their source in law, provided
right to file the separate civil action, they waived that the action has for its basis the same act or
other available civil actions predicated on the omission of the offender. 29
same act or omission of the accused-driver. Such
civil action includes the recovery of indemnity However, petitioner as defendant in the separate
under the Revised Penal Code, and damages civil action for damages filed against it, based
under Articles 32, 33, and 34 of the Civil Code of on quasi delict, may be held liable thereon. Thus,
the Philippines arising from the same act or the trial court grievously erred in dismissing
omission of the accused. 28 plaintiff's civil complaint. And the Court of Appeals
erred in affirming the trial court's decision.
The intention of private respondents to proceed Unfortunately private respondents did not appeal
primarily and directly against petitioner as from such dismissal and could not be granted
employer of accused truck driver became clearer affirmative relief. 30
when they did not ask for the dismissal of the civil
action against the latter based on quasi delict. The Court, however, in exceptional cases has
relaxed the rules "in order to promote their
Consequently, the Court of Appeals and the trial objectives and assist the parties in obtaining just,
court erred in holding the accused civilly liable, and speedy, and inexpensive determination of every
petitioner-employer of the accused subsidiarily action or proceeding" 31 or exempted "a particular
liable for damages arising from crime (ex delicto) case from the operation of the rules." 32
in the criminal action as the offended parties in fact
filed a separate civil action against the employer Invoking this principle, we rule that the trial court
based on quasi delict resulting in the waiver of the erred in awarding civil damages in the criminal
civil action ex delicto. case and in dismissing the civil action. Apparently
satisfied with such award, private respondent did
It might be argued that private respondents as not appeal from the dismissal of the civil case.
complainants in the criminal case withdrew the However, petitioner did appeal. Hence, this case
reservation to file a civil action against the driver should be remanded to the trial court so that it may
(accused) and manifested that they would pursue render decision in the civil case awarding
the civil liability of the driver in the criminal action. damages as may be warranted by the evidence. 33
However, the withdrawal is ineffective to reverse
the effect of the reservation earlier made because With regard to the second issue, the award of
private respondents did not withdraw the civil damages in the criminal case was improper
action against petitioner based on quasi delict. In because the civil action for the recovery of civil
such a case, the provision of Rule 111, Section 1, liability was waived in the criminal action by the
paragraph 3 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal filing of a separate civil action against the
Procedure is clear that the reservation to file or the employer. As enunciated in Ramos
filing of a separate civil action results in a waiver of vs. Gonong, 34 "civil indemnity is not part of the
other available civil actions arising from the same penalty for the crime committed." The only issue
act or omission of the accused. Rule 111, Section brought before the trial court in the criminal action
1, paragraph 2 enumerated what are the civil is whether accused Romeo Dunca y de Tumol is
actions deemed waived upon such reservation or guilty of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide
filing, and one of which is the civil indemnity under and damage to property. The action for recovery
the Revised Penal Code. Rule 111, Section 1, of civil liability is not included therein, but is
paragraph 3 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal covered by the separate civil action filed against
Procedure specifically provides: the petitioner as employer of the accused truck-
driver.
A waiver of any of the civil actions
extinguishes the others. The institution of, In this case, accused-driver jumped bail pending
or the reservation of the right to file, any of his appeal from his conviction. Thus, the judgment
said civil actions separately waives the convicting the accused became final and
others. executory, but only insofar as the penalty in the
criminal action is concerned. The damages
The rationale behind this rule is the avoidance of awarded in the criminal action was invalid because
multiple suits between the same litigants arising of its effective waiver. The pronouncement was
out of the same act or omission of the offender. void because the action for recovery of the civil
The restrictive phraseology of the section under

41
liability arising from the crime has been waived in resulting in homicide"; or "simple imprudence
said criminal action. causing damages to property"." 39

With respect to the issue that the award of There is need, therefore, to rectify the designation
damages in the criminal action exceeded the of the offense without disturbing the imposed
amount of damages alleged in the amended penalty for the guidance of bench and bar in strict
information, the issue is de minimis. At any rate, adherence to precedent.
the trial court erred in awarding damages in the
criminal case because by virtue of the reservation WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the petition
of the right to bring a separate civil action or the and SETS ASIDE the amended decision and
filing thereof, "there would be no possibility that the resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR
employer would be held liable because in such a No. 14448, promulgated on January 6, 1997, and
case there would be no pronouncement as to the the joint decision of the Regional Trial Court,
civil liability of the accused. 35 Isabela, Branch 19, Cauayan, in Criminal Case
No. Br. 19-311 and Civil Case No. Br. 19-424,
As a final note, we reiterate that "the policy against dated June 6, 1992.
double recovery requires that only one action be
maintained for the same act or omission whether IN LIEU THEREOF, the Court renders judgment
the action is brought against the employee or as follows:
against his employer. 36 The injured party must
choose which of the available causes of action for (1) In Criminal Case No. Br. 19-311, the
damages he will bring. 37 Court declares the accused Romeo Dunca
y de Tumol guilty beyond reasonable
Parenthetically, the trial court found the accused doubt of reckless imprudence resulting in
"guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of homicide and damage to property, defined
Double Homicide Through Reckless Imprudence and penalized under Article 365,
with violation of the Motor Vehicle Law (Rep. Act paragraph 2 of the Revised Penal Code,
No. 4136)". There is no such nomenclature of an with violation of the automobile law (R.A.
offense under the Revised Penal Code. Thus, the No. 4136, as amended), and sentences
trial court was misled to sentence the accused "to him to suffer two (2) indeterminate
suffer two (2) indeterminate penalties of four (4) penalties of four (4) months and one (1)
months and one (1) day of arresto mayor, as day of arresto mayor, as minimum, to
minimum, to three (3) years, six (6) months and three (3) years, six (6) months and twenty
twenty (20) days of prision correccional, as (20) days ofprision correccional, as
maximum." This is erroneous because in reckless maximum, 40 without indemnity, and to pay
imprudence cases, the actual penalty for criminal the costs, and
negligence bears no relation to the individual
willfull crime or crimes committed, but is set in (2) In Civil Case No. Br. 19-424, the Court
relation to a whole class, or series of crimes. 38 orders the case re-opened to determine
the liability of the defendant Rafael Reyes
Unfortunately, we can no longer correct this Trucking Corporation to plaintiffs and that
judgment even if erroneous, as it is, because it has of plaintiffs on defendant's counterclaim.
become final and executory.
No costs in this instance.
Under Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code,
criminal negligence "is treated as a mere quasi SO ORDERED.
offense, and dealt with separately from willful
offenses. It is not a question of classification or
Bellosillo, Melo, Kapunan, Buena, Gonzaga-
terminology. In intentional crimes, the act itself is
Reyes, Ynares-Santiago and De Leon, Jr., JJ.,
punished; in negligence or imprudence, what is
concur.
principally penalized is the mental attitude or
Davide, Jr., C.J., Please see dissenting opinion.
condition behind the act, the dangerous
Puno, J., I concur but pro hac vice.
recklessness, lack of care or foresight,
Vitug, J., Please see separate opinion.
the imprudencia punible. Much of the confusion
Mendoza, J., Please see my dissent.
has arisen from the common use of such
Panganiban, J., In the result.
descriptive phrase as "homicide through reckless
Quisumbing, J., Concur in separate opinion of J.
imprudence", and the like; when the strict technical
Vitug.
sense is, more accurately, "reckless imprudence

42
Purisima, J., I join in the dissent of Mr. Justice Respondent suffered minor injuries while his driver
Mendoza. was unhurt. He was first brought for treatment to
the Manila Central University Hospital in Kalookan
City by Oscar Buan, the conductor of the Philippine
Republic of the Philippines Rabbit Bus, and was later transferred to the
SUPREME COURT Veterans Memorial Medical Center.
Manila
By reason of such collision, a criminal case was
THIRD DIVISION filed before the RTC of Malolos, Bulacan, charging
petitioner Manliclic with Reckless Imprudence
Resulting in Damage to Property with Physical
G.R. No. 150157 January 25, 2007
Injuries, docketed as Crim. Case No. 684-M-89.
Subsequently on 2 December 1991, respondent
MAURICIO MANLICLIC and PHILIPPINE filed a complaint for damages against petitioners
RABBIT BUS LINES, INC., Petitioners, Manliclic and PRBLI before the RTC of Dagupan
vs. City, docketed as Civil Case No. D-10086. The
MODESTO CALAUNAN, Respondent. criminal case was tried ahead of the civil case.
Among those who testified in the criminal case
DECISION were respondent Calaunan, Marcelo Mendoza
and Fernando Ramos.
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
In the civil case (now before this Court), the parties
Assailed before Us is the decision1 of the Court of admitted the following:
Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 55909 which affirmed
in toto the decision2 of the Regional Trial Court 1. The parties agreed on the capacity of
(RTC) of Dagupan City, Branch 42, in Civil Case the parties to sue and be sued as well as
No. D-10086, finding petitioners Mauricio Manliclic the venue and the identities of the vehicles
and Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. (PRBLI) involved;
solidarily liable to pay damages and attorney’s
fees to respondent Modesto Calaunan. 2. The identity of the drivers and the fact
that they are duly licensed;
The factual antecedents are as follows:
3. The date and place of the vehicular
The vehicles involved in this case are: (1) collision;
Philippine Rabbit Bus No. 353 with plate number
CVD-478, owned by petitioner PRBLI and driven 4. The extent of the injuries suffered by
by petitioner Mauricio Manliclic; and (2) owner- plaintiff Modesto Calaunan and the
type jeep with plate number PER-290, owned by existence of the medical certificate;
respondent Modesto Calaunan and driven by
Marcelo Mendoza.
5. That both vehicles were going towards
the south; the private jeep being ahead of
At around 6:00 to 7:00 o’clock in the morning of 12 the bus;
July 1988, respondent Calaunan, together with
Marcelo Mendoza, was on his way to Manila from
6. That the weather was fair and the road
Pangasinan on board his owner-type jeep. The
was well paved and straight, although
Philippine Rabbit Bus was likewise bound for
there was a ditch on the right side where
Manila from Concepcion, Tarlac. At approximately
the jeep fell into.3
Kilometer 40 of the North Luzon Expressway in
Barangay Lalangan, Plaridel, Bulacan, the two
vehicles collided. The front right side of the When the civil case was heard, counsel for
Philippine Rabbit Bus hit the rear left side of the respondent prayed that the transcripts of
jeep causing the latter to move to the shoulder on stenographic notes (TSNs)4 of the testimonies of
the right and then fall on a ditch with water respondent Calaunan, Marcelo Mendoza and
resulting to further extensive damage. The bus Fernando Ramos in the criminal case be received
veered to the left and stopped 7 to 8 meters from in evidence in the civil case in as much as these
point of collision. witnesses are not available to testify in the civil
case.

43
Francisco Tuliao testified that his brother-in-law, The parties differed only on the manner the
respondent Calaunan, left for abroad sometime in collision between the two (2) vehicles took place.
November, 1989 and has not returned since then. According to the plaintiff and his driver, the jeep
Rogelio Ramos took the stand and said that his was cruising at the speed of 60 to 70 kilometers
brother, Fernando Ramos, left for Amman, Jordan, per hour on the slow lane of the expressway when
to work. Rosalia Mendoza testified that her the Philippine Rabbit Bus overtook the jeep and in
husband, Marcelo Mendoza, left their residence to the process of overtaking the jeep, the Philippine
look for a job. She narrated that she thought her Rabbit Bus hit the rear of the jeep on the left side.
husband went to his hometown in Panique, Tarlac, At the time the Philippine Rabbit Bus hit the jeep,
when he did not return after one month. She went it was about to overtake the jeep. In other words,
to her husband’s hometown to look for him but she the Philippine Rabbit Bus was still at the back of
was informed that he did not go there.1awphil.net the jeep when the jeep was hit. Fernando Ramos
corroborated the testimony of the plaintiff and
The trial court subpoenaed the Clerk of Court of Marcelo Mendoza. He said that he was on another
Branch 8, RTC, Malolos, Bulacan, the court where jeep following the Philippine Rabbit Bus and the
Criminal Case No. 684-M-89 was tried, to bring the jeep of plaintiff when the incident took place. He
TSNs of the testimonies of respondent said, the jeep of the plaintiff overtook them and the
Calaunan,5 Marcelo Mendoza6 and Fernando said jeep of the plaintiff was followed by the
Ramos7 in said case, together with other Philippine Rabbit Bus which was running very fast.
documentary evidence marked therein. Instead of The bus also overtook the jeep in which he was
the Branch Clerk of Court, it was Enrique Santos riding. After that, he heard a loud sound. He saw
Guevara, Court Interpreter, who appeared before the jeep of the plaintiff swerved to the right on a
the court and identified the TSNs of the three grassy portion of the road. The Philippine Rabbit
afore-named witnesses and other pertinent Bus stopped and they overtook the Philippine
documents he had brought.8 Counsel for Rabbit Bus so that it could not moved (sic),
respondent wanted to mark other TSNs and meaning they stopped in front of the Philippine
documents from the said criminal case to be Rabbit Bus. He testified that the jeep of plaintiff
adopted in the instant case, but since the same swerved to the right because it was bumped by the
were not brought to the trial court, counsel for Philippine Rabbit bus from behind.
petitioners compromised that said TSNs and
documents could be offered by counsel for Both Mauricio Manliclic and his driver, Oscar Buan
respondent as rebuttal evidence. admitted that the Philippine Rabbit Bus bumped
the jeep in question. However, they explained that
For the defendants, petitioner Manliclic and bus when the Philippine Rabbit bus was about to go to
conductor Oscar Buan testified. The TSN9 of the the left lane to overtake the jeep, the latter jeep
testimony of Donato Ganiban, investigator of the swerved to the left because it was to overtake
PRBLI, in Criminal Case No. 684-M-89 was another jeep in front of it. Such was their testimony
marked and allowed to be adopted in the civil case before the RTC in Malolos in the criminal case and
on the ground that he was already dead. before this Court in the instant case. [Thus, which
of the two versions of the manner how the collision
Respondent further marked, among other took place was correct, would be determinative of
documents, as rebuttal evidence, the TSNs10 of who between the two drivers was negligent in the
the testimonies of Donato Ganiban, Oscar Buan operation of their respective vehicles.]11
and petitioner Manliclic in Criminal Case No. 684-
M-89. Petitioner PRBLI maintained that it observed and
exercised the diligence of a good father of a family
The disagreement arises from the question: Who in the selection and supervision of its employee,
is to be held liable for the collision? specifically petitioner Manliclic.

Respondent insists it was petitioner Manliclic who On 22 July 1996, the trial court rendered its
should be liable while the latter is resolute in decision in favor of respondent Calaunan and
saying it was the former who caused the smash against petitioners Manliclic and PRBLI. The
up. dispositive portion of its decision reads:

The versions of the parties are summarized by the WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered in favor of
trial court as follows: the plaintiff and against the defendants ordering
the said defendants to pay plaintiff jointly and
solidarily the amount of P40,838.00 as actual

44
damages for the towing as well as the repair and Vda. De Calaunan, and children, Virgilio
the materials used for the repair of the jeep in Calaunan, Carmelita Honeycomb, Evelyn
question; P100,000.00 as moral damages and Calaunan, Marko Calaunan and Liwayway
another P100,000.00 as exemplary damages Calaunan.15
and P15,000.00 as attorney’s fees, including
appearance fees of the lawyer. In addition, the In their Reply to respondent’s Comment,
defendants are also to pay costs.12 petitioners informed this Court of a Decision16 of
the Court of Appeals acquitting petitioner Manliclic
Petitioners appealed the decision via Notice of of the charge17 of Reckless Imprudence Resulting
Appeal to the Court of Appeals.13 in Damage to Property with Physical Injuries
attaching thereto a photocopy thereof.
In a decision dated 28 September 2001, the Court
of Appeals, finding no reversible error in the On the first assigned error, petitioners argue that
decision of the trial court, affirmed it in all the TSNs containing the testimonies of respondent
respects.14 Calaunan,18Marcelo Mendoza19 and Fernando
Ramos20 should not be admitted in evidence for
Petitioners are now before us by way of petition for failure of respondent to comply with the requisites
review assailing the decision of the Court of of Section 47, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court.
Appeals. They assign as errors the following:
For Section 47, Rule 13021 to apply, the following
I requisites must be satisfied: (a) the witness is dead
or unable to testify; (b) his testimony or deposition
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED ON A was given in a former case or proceeding, judicial
QUESTION OF LAW IN AFFIRMING THE TRIAL or administrative, between the same parties or
COURT’S QUESTIONABLE ADMISSION IN those representing the same interests; (c) the
EVIDENCE OF THE TSN’s AND OTHER former case involved the same subject as that in
DOCUMENTS PRESENTED IN THE CRIMINAL the present case, although on different causes of
CASE. action; (d) the issue testified to by the witness in
the former trial is the same issue involved in the
present case; and (e) the adverse party had an
II
opportunity to cross-examine the witness in the
former case.22
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED ON A
QUESTION OF LAW IN AFFIRMING THE TRIAL
Admittedly, respondent failed to show the
COURT’S RELIANCE ON THE VERSION OF
concurrence of all the requisites set forth by the
THE RESPONDENT ON HOW THE ACCIDENT
Rules for a testimony given in a former case or
SUPPOSEDLY OCCURRED.
proceeding to be admissible as an exception to the
hearsay rule. Petitioner PRBLI, not being a party
III in Criminal Case No. 684-M-89, had no
opportunity to cross-examine the three witnesses
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED ON A in said case. The criminal case was filed
QUESTION OF LAW IN AFFIRMING THE TRIAL exclusively against petitioner Manliclic, petitioner
COURT’S UNFAIR DISREGARD OF HEREIN PRBLI’s employee. The cases dealing with the
PETITIONER PRBL’s DEFENSE OF EXERCISE subsidiary liability of employers uniformly declare
OF DUE DILIGENCE IN THE SELECTION AND that, strictly speaking, they are not parties to the
SUPERVISION OF ITS EMPLOYEES. criminal cases instituted against their employees.23

IV Notwithstanding the fact that petitioner PRBLI was


not a party in said criminal case, the testimonies of
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED ON A the three witnesses are still admissible on the
QUESTION OF LAW IN AFFIRMING THE TRIAL ground that petitioner PRBLI failed to object on
COURT’S QUESTIONABLE AWARD OF their admissibility.
DAMAGES AND ATTORNEY’S FEE.
It is elementary that an objection shall be made at
With the passing away of respondent Calaunan the time when an alleged inadmissible document
during the pendency of this appeal with this Court, is offered in evidence; otherwise, the objection
we granted the Motion for the Substitution of shall be treated as waived, since the right to object
Respondent filed by his wife, Mrs. Precila Zarate is merely a privilege which the party may waive.

45
Thus, a failure to except to the evidence because in relation to Section 47, Rule 130 of the Rules of
it does not conform to the statute is a waiver of the Court, as a ground for objecting to the admissibility
provisions of the law. Even assuming ex gratia of the TSN was belatedly done. In so doing, therein
argumenti that these documents are inadmissible petitioner waived his right to object based on said
for being hearsay, but on account of failure to ground.
object thereto, the same may be admitted and
considered as sufficient to prove the facts therein Petitioners contend that the documents in the
asserted.24 Hearsay evidence alone may be criminal case should not have been admitted in the
insufficient to establish a fact in a suit but, when no instant civil case because Section 47 of Rule 130
objection is made thereto, it is, like any other refers only to "testimony or deposition." We find
evidence, to be considered and given the such contention to be untenable. Though said
importance it deserves.25 section speaks only of testimony and deposition, it
does not mean that documents from a former case
In the case at bar, petitioner PRBLI did not object or proceeding cannot be admitted. Said
to the TSNs containing the testimonies of documents can be admitted they being part of the
respondent Calaunan, Marcelo Mendoza and testimonies of witnesses that have been admitted.
Fernando Ramos in the criminal case when the Accordingly, they shall be given the same weight
same were offered in evidence in the trial court. In as that to which the testimony may be entitled.29
fact, the TSNs of the testimonies of Calaunan and
Mendoza were admitted by both On the second assigned error, petitioners contend
petitioners.26 Moreover, petitioner PRBLI even that the version of petitioner Manliclic as to how
offered in evidence the TSN containing the the accident occurred is more credible than
testimony of Donato Ganiban in the criminal case. respondent’s version. They anchor their
If petitioner PRBLI argues that the TSNs of the contention on the fact that petitioner Manliclic was
testimonies of plaintiff’s witnesses in the criminal acquitted by the Court of Appeals of the charge of
case should not be admitted in the instant case, Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Damage to
why then did it offer the TSN of the testimony of Property with Physical Injuries.
Ganiban which was given in the criminal case? It
appears that petitioner PRBLI wants to have its To be resolved by the Court is the effect of
cake and eat it too. It cannot argue that the TSNs petitioner Manliclic’s acquittal in the civil case.
of the testimonies of the witnesses of the adverse
party in the criminal case should not be admitted
From the complaint, it can be gathered that the civil
and at the same time insist that the TSN of the
case for damages was one arising from, or based
testimony of the witness for the accused be
on, quasi-delict.30 Petitioner Manliclic was sued for
admitted in its favor. To disallow admission in
his negligence or reckless imprudence in causing
evidence of the TSNs of the testimonies of
the collision, while petitioner PRBLI was sued for
Calaunan, Marcelo Mendoza and Fernando
its failure to exercise the diligence of a good father
Ramos in the criminal case and to admit the TSN
in the selection and supervision of its employees,
of the testimony of Ganiban would be unfair.
particularly petitioner Manliclic. The allegations
read:
We do not subscribe to petitioner PRBLI’s
argument that it will be denied due process when
"4. That sometime on July 12, 1988 at
the TSNs of the testimonies of Calaunan, Marcelo
around 6:20 A.M. plaintiff was on board the
Mendoza and Fernando Ramos in the criminal
above-described motor vehicle travelling
case are to be admitted in the civil case. It is too
at a moderate speed along the North
late for petitioner PRBLI to raise denial of due
Luzon Expressway heading South towards
process in relation to Section 47, Rule 130 of the
Manila together with MARCELO
Rules of Court, as a ground for objecting to the
MENDOZA, who was then driving the
admissibility of the TSNs. For failure to object at
same;
the proper time, it waived its right to object that the
TSNs did not comply with Section 47.
"5. That approximately at kilometer 40 of
the North Luzon Express Way, the above-
In Mangio v. Court of Appeals,27 this Court,
described motor vehicle was suddenly
through Associate Justice Reynato S.
bumped from behind by a Philippine
Puno,28 admitted in evidence a TSN of the
Rabbit Bus with Body No. 353 and with
testimony of a witness in another case despite
plate No. CVD 478 then being driven by
therein petitioner’s assertion that he would be
one Mauricio Manliclic of San Jose,
denied due process. In admitting the TSN, the
Concepcion, Tarlac, who was then
Court ruled that the raising of denial of due process

46
travelling recklessly at a very fast speed The swerving of Calaunan’s jeep when it tried to
and had apparently lost control of his overtake the vehicle in front of it was beyond the
vehicle; control of accused-appellant.

"6. That as a result of the impact of the xxxx


collision the above-described motor
vehicle was forced off the North Luzon Absent evidence of negligence, therefore,
Express Way towards the rightside where accused-appellant cannot be held liable for
it fell on its driver’s side on a ditch, and that Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Damage to
as a consequence, the above-described Property with Physical Injuries as defined in Article
motor vehicle which maybe valued at 365 of the Revised Penal Code.32
EIGHTY THOUSAND PESOS (P80,000)
was rendered a total wreck as shown by From the foregoing declaration of the Court of
pictures to be presented during the pre- Appeals, it appears that petitioner Manliclic was
trial and trial of this case; acquitted not on reasonable doubt, but on the
ground that he is not the author of the act
"7. That also as a result of said incident, complained of which is based on Section 2(b) of
plaintiff sustained bodily injuries which Rule 111 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure which
compounded plaintiff’s frail physical reads:
condition and required his hospitalization
from July 12, 1988 up to and until July 22, (b) Extinction of the penal action does not carry
1988, copy of the medical certificate is with it extinction of the civil, unless the extinction
hereto attached as Annex "A" and made proceeds from a declaration in a final judgment
an integral part hereof; that the fact from which the civil might arise did not
exist.
"8. That the vehicular collision resulting in
the total wreckage of the above-described In spite of said ruling, petitioner Manliclic can still
motor vehicle as well as bodily (sic) be held liable for the mishap. The afore-quoted
sustained by plaintiff, was solely due to the section applies only to a civil action arising from
reckless imprudence of the defendant crime or ex delicto and not to a civil action arising
driver Mauricio Manliclic who drove his from quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana. The extinction
Philippine Rabbit Bus No. 353 at a fast of civil liability referred to in Par. (e) of Section 3,
speed without due regard or observance of Rule 111 [now Section 2 (b) of Rule 111], refers
existing traffic rules and regulations; exclusively to civil liability founded on Article 100
of the Revised Penal Code, whereas the civil
"9. That defendant Philippine Rabbit Bus liability for the same act considered as a quasi-
Line Corporation failed to exercise the delict only and not as a crime is not extinguished
diligence of a good father of (sic) family in even by a declaration in the criminal case that the
the selection and supervision of its drivers; criminal act charged has not happened or has not
x x x"31 been committed by the accused.33

Can Manliclic still be held liable for the collision A quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana is a separate legal
and be found negligent notwithstanding the institution under the Civil Code with a substantivity
declaration of the Court of Appeals that there was all its own, and individuality that is entirely apart
an absence of negligence on his part? and independent from a delict or crime – a
distinction exists between the civil liability arising
In exonerating petitioner Manliclic in the criminal from a crime and the responsibility for quasi-delicts
case, the Court of Appeals said: or culpa extra-contractual. The same negligence
causing damages may produce civil liability arising
To the following findings of the court a quo, to wit: from a crime under the Penal Code, or create an
that accused-appellant was negligent "when the action for quasi-delicts or culpa extra-contractual
bus he was driving bumped the jeep from behind"; under the Civil Code.34 It is now settled that
that "the proximate cause of the accident was his acquittal of the accused, even if based on a finding
having driven the bus at a great speed while that he is not guilty, does not carry with it the
closely following the jeep"; x x x extinction of the civil liability based on quasi
delict.35
We do not agree.

47
In other words, if an accused is acquitted based on well as in the petitioner's main and reply briefs are
reasonable doubt on his guilt, his civil liability not disputed by the respondents; and (10) the
arising from the crime may be proved by findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are
preponderance of evidence only. However, if an premised on the supposed absence of evidence
accused is acquitted on the basis that he was not and contradicted by the evidence on record.39
the author of the act or omission complained of (or
that there is declaration in a final judgment that the After going over the evidence on record, we do not
fact from which the civil might arise did not exist), find any of the exceptions that would warrant our
said acquittal closes the door to civil liability based departure from the general rule. We fully agree in
on the crime or ex delicto. In this second instance, the finding of the trial court, as affirmed by the
there being no crime or delict to speak of, civil Court of Appeals, that it was petitioner Manliclic
liability based thereon or ex delicto is not possible. who was negligent in driving the PRBLI bus which
In this case, a civil action, if any, may be instituted was the cause of the collision. In giving credence
on grounds other than the delict complained of. to the version of the respondent, the trial court has
this say:
As regards civil liability arising from quasi-delict or
culpa aquiliana, same will not be extinguished by x x x Thus, which of the two versions of the manner
an acquittal, whether it be on ground of reasonable how the collision took place was correct, would be
doubt or that accused was not the author of the act determinative of who between the two drivers was
or omission complained of (or that there is negligent in the operation of their respective
declaration in a final judgment that the fact from vehicle.
which the civil liability might arise did not exist).
The responsibility arising from fault or negligence In this regard, it should be noted that in the
in a quasi-delict is entirely separate and distinct statement of Mauricio Manliclic (Exh. 15) given to
from the civil liability arising from negligence under the Philippine Rabbit Investigator CV Cabading no
the Penal Code.36 An acquittal or conviction in the mention was made by him about the fact that the
criminal case is entirely irrelevant in the civil driver of the jeep was overtaking another jeep
case37 based on quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana. when the collision took place. The allegation that
another jeep was being overtaken by the jeep of
Petitioners ask us to give credence to their version Calaunan was testified to by him only in Crim.
of how the collision occurred and to disregard that Case No. 684-M-89 before the Regional Trial
of respondent’s. Petitioners insist that while the Court in Malolos, Bulacan and before this Court.
PRBLI bus was in the process of overtaking Evidently, it was a product of an afterthought on
respondent’s jeep, the latter, without warning, the part of Mauricio Manliclic so that he could
suddenly swerved to the left (fast) lane in order to explain why he should not be held responsible for
overtake another jeep ahead of it, thus causing the the incident. His attempt to veer away from the
collision. truth was also apparent when it would be
considered that in his statement given to the
As a general rule, questions of fact may not be Philippine Rabbit Investigator CV Cabading (Exh.
raised in a petition for review. The factual findings 15), he alleged that the Philippine Rabbit Bus
of the trial court, especially when affirmed by the bumped the jeep of Calaunan while the Philippine
appellate court, are binding and conclusive on the Rabbit Bus was behind the said jeep. In his
Supreme Court.38 Not being a trier of facts, this testimony before the Regional Trial Court in
Court will not allow a review thereof unless: Malolos, Bulacan as well as in this Court, he
alleged that the Philippine Rabbit Bus was already
(1) the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on on the left side of the jeep when the collision took
speculation, surmise and conjecture; (2) the place. For this inconsistency between his
inference made is manifestly mistaken; (3) there is statement and testimony, his explanation
grave abuse of discretion; (4) the judgment is regarding the manner of how the collision between
based on a misapprehension of facts; (5) the the jeep and the bus took place should be taken
findings of fact are conflicting; (6) the Court of with caution. It might be true that in the statement
Appeals went beyond the issues of the case and of Oscar Buan given to the Philippine Rabbit
its findings are contrary to the admissions of both Investigator CV Cabading, it was mentioned by the
appellant and appellees; (7) the findings of fact of former that the jeep of plaintiff was in the act of
the Court of Appeals are contrary to those of the overtaking another jeep when the collision
trial court; (8) said findings of fact are conclusions between the latter jeep and the Philippine Rabbit
without citation of specific evidence on which they Bus took place. But the fact, however, that his
are based; (9) the facts set forth in the petition as statement was given on July 15, 1988, one day
after Mauricio Manliclic gave his statement should

48
not escape attention. The one-day difference he became a regular driver. As to the exercise of
between the giving of the two statements would be due diligence in the supervision of its employees,
significant enough to entertain the possibility of it argues that presence of ready investigators
Oscar Buan having received legal advise before (Ganiban and Cabading) is sufficient proof that it
giving his statement. Apart from that, as between exercised the required due diligence in the
his statement and the statement of Manliclic supervision of its employees.
himself, the statement of the latter should prevail.
Besides, in his Affidavit of March 10, 1989, (Exh. In the selection of prospective employees,
14), the unreliability of the statement of Oscar employers are required to examine them as to their
Buan (Exh. 13) given to CV Cabading rear its "ugly qualifications, experience and service records. In
head" when he did not mention in said affidavit that the supervision of employees, the employer must
the jeep of Calaunan was trying to overtake formulate standard operating procedures, monitor
another jeep when the collision between the jeep their implementation and impose disciplinary
in question and the Philippine Rabbit bus took measures for the breach thereof. To fend off
place. vicarious liability, employers must submit concrete
proof, including documentary evidence, that they
xxxx complied with everything that was incumbent on
them.44
If one would believe the testimony of the
defendant, Mauricio Manliclic, and his conductor, In Metro Manila Transit Corporation v. Court of
Oscar Buan, that the Philippine Rabbit Bus was Appeals,45 it was explained that:
already somewhat parallel to the jeep when the
collision took place, the point of collision on the Due diligence in the supervision of employees on
jeep should have been somewhat on the left side the other hand, includes the formulation of suitable
thereof rather than on its rear. Furthermore, the rules and regulations for the guidance of
jeep should have fallen on the road itself rather employees and the issuance of proper instructions
than having been forced off the road. Useless, intended for the protection of the public and
likewise to emphasize that the Philippine Rabbit persons with whom the employer has relations
was running very fast as testified to by Ramos through his or its employees and the imposition of
which was not controverted by the defendants.40 necessary disciplinary measures upon employees
in case of breach or as may be warranted to
Having ruled that it was petitioner Manliclic’s ensure the performance of acts indispensable to
negligence that caused the smash up, there arises the business of and beneficial to their employer.
the juris tantum presumption that the employer is To this, we add that actual implementation and
negligent, rebuttable only by proof of observance monitoring of consistent compliance with said
of the diligence of a good father of a rules should be the constant concern of the
family.41 Under Article 218042 of the New Civil employer, acting through dependable supervisors
Code, when an injury is caused by the negligence who should regularly report on their supervisory
of the employee, there instantly arises a functions.
presumption of law that there was negligence on
the part of the master or employer either in the In order that the defense of due diligence in the
selection of the servant or employee, or in selection and supervision of employees may be
supervision over him after selection or both. The deemed sufficient and plausible, it is not enough to
liability of the employer under Article 2180 is direct emptily invoke the existence of said company
and immediate; it is not conditioned upon prior guidelines and policies on hiring and supervision.
recourse against the negligent employee and a As the negligence of the employee gives rise to the
prior showing of the insolvency of such employee. presumption of negligence on the part of the
Therefore, it is incumbent upon the private employer, the latter has the burden of proving that
respondents to prove that they exercised the it has been diligent not only in the selection of
diligence of a good father of a family in the employees but also in the actual supervision of
selection and supervision of their employee.43 their work. The mere allegation of the existence of
hiring procedures and supervisory policies, without
In the case at bar, petitioner PRBLI maintains that anything more, is decidedly not sufficient to
it had shown that it exercised the required overcome such presumption.
diligence in the selection and supervision of its
employees, particularly petitioner Manliclic. In the We emphatically reiterate our holding, as a
matter of selection, it showed the screening warning to all employers, that "the formulation of
process that petitioner Manliclic underwent before various company policies on safety without

49
showing that they were being complied with is not We now go to the award of damages. The trial
sufficient to exempt petitioner from liability arising court correctly awarded the amount of P40,838.00
from negligence of its employees. It is incumbent as actual damages representing the amount paid
upon petitioner to show that in recruiting and by respondent for the towing and repair of his
employing the erring driver the recruitment jeep.47 As regards the awards for moral and
procedures and company policies on efficiency exemplary damages, same, under the
and safety were followed." x x x. circumstances, must be modified.
The P100,000.00 awarded by the trial court as
The trial court found that petitioner PRBLI moral damages must be reduced
exercised the diligence of a good father of a family to P50,000.00.48 Exemplary damages are
in the selection but not in the supervision of its imposed by way of example or correction for the
employees. It expounded as follows: public good.49 The amount awarded by the trial
court must, likewise, be lowered
From the evidence of the defendants, it seems that to P50,000.00.50 The award of P15,000.00 for
the Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines has a very good attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation is in
procedure of recruiting its driver as well as in the order and authorized by law.51
maintenance of its vehicles. There is no evidence
though that it is as good in the supervision of its WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant
personnel. There has been no iota of evidence petition for review is DENIED. The decision of the
introduced by it that there are rules promulgated Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 55909 is
by the bus company regarding the safe operation AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that (1) the
of its vehicle and in the way its driver should award of moral damages shall be reduced
manage and operate the vehicles assigned to to P50,000.00; and (2) the award of exemplary
them. There is no showing that somebody in the damages shall be lowered to P50,000.00. Costs
bus company has been employed to oversee how against petitioners.
its driver should behave while operating their
vehicles without courting incidents similar to the SO ORDERED.
herein case. In regard to supervision, it is not
difficult to observe that the Philippine Rabbit Bus MINITA V. CHICO-NAZARIO
Lines, Inc. has been negligent as an employer and Associate Justice
it should be made responsible for the acts of its
employees, particularly the driver involved in this WE CONCUR:
case.
CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO
We agree. The presence of ready investigators Associate Justice
after the occurrence of the accident is not enough Chairperson
to exempt petitioner PRBLI from liability arising
from the negligence of petitioner Manliclic. Same
does not comply with the guidelines set forth in the MA. ALICIA AUSTRIA- ROMEO J.
cases above-mentioned. The presence of the MARTINEZ CALLEJO, SR.
investigators after the accident is not enough Associate Justice Asscociate Justice
supervision. Regular supervision of employees,
that is, prior to any accident, should have been
shown and established. This, petitioner failed to ATTESTATION
do. The lack of supervision can further be seen by
the fact that there is only one set of manual I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision
containing the rules and regulations for all the were reached in consultation before the case was
drivers of PRBLI. 46 How then can all the drivers of assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s
petitioner PRBLI know and be continually informed Division.
of the rules and regulations when only one manual
is being lent to all the drivers? CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO
Associate Justice
For failure to adduce proof that it exercised the Chairperson, Third Division
diligence of a good father of a family in the
selection and supervision of its employees, CERTIFICATION
petitioner PRBLI is held solidarily responsible for
the damages caused by petitioner Manliclic’s Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the
negligence. Constitution, and the Division Chairperson’s

50
Attestation, it is hereby certified that the the spouses' property covered by Transfer
conclusions in the above Decision were reached in Certificate of Title No. 14926-R issued by the
consultation before the case was assigned to the Register of Deeds of Pampanga.6 As required by
writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division. the mortgage deed, the spouses Daeng deposited
the owner's duplicate copy of the title with the
REYNATO S. PUNO GSIS.7
Chief Justice
On January 19, 1979, eleven (11) months before
the maturity of the loan, the spouses Deang settled
their debt with the GSIS8 and requested for the
release of the owner's duplicate copy of the title
since they intended to secure a loan from a private
lender and use the land covered by it as collateral
security for the loan of fifty thousand pesos
FIRST DIVISION (P50,000.00)9 which they applied for with one
Milagros Runes.10 They would use the proceeds of
G.R. No. 135644 September 17, 2001 the loan applied for the renovation of the spouses'
residential house and for business.11
GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE
SYSTEM, petitioner, However, personnel of the GSIS were not able to
vs. release the owner's duplicate of the title as it could
SPOUSES GONZALO and MATILDE LABUNG- not be found despite diligent search.12 As stated
DEANG, respondents. earlier, the spouses as mortgagors deposited the
owner's duplicate copy of the title with the GSIS
PARDO, J.: located at its office in San Fernando, Pampanga.13

The petitioner in the case is the Government Satisfied that the owner's duplicate copy of the title
Service Insurance System (hereafter, "GSIS"). was really lost, in 1979, GSIS commenced the
Having lost the case in the trial court and the Court reconstitution proceedings with the Court of First
of Appeals, it now comes to this Court for redress. Instance of Pampanga for the issuance of a new
owner's copy of the same.14
At the onset, we state that the issue is not
"suability" or whether GSIS may be sued despite On June 22, 1979, GSIS issued a certificate of
the doctrine of state immunity from suit, but release of mortgage.15
liability, whether or not GSIS may be liable to pay
damages to respondent spouses given the On June 26, 1979, after the completion of judicial
applicable law and the circumstances of the case.1 proceedings, GSIS finally secured and released
the reconstituted copy of the owner's duplicate of
The Case Transfer Certificate of Title No. 14926-R to the
spouses Deang.16
The case is a petition2 for review on certiorari of
the decision of the Court of Appeals3 affirming the On July 6, 1979, the spouses Deang filed with the
decision of the Regional Trial Court, Angeles Court of First Instance, Angeles City a complaint
City4 ordering GSIS to pay respondents Gonzalo against GSIS for damages, claiming that as result
(now deceased)5 and Matilde Labung-Deang of the delay in releasing the duplicate copy of the
(hereafter, "spouses Deang") temperate damages, owner's title, they were unable to secure a loan
attorney's fees, legal interests and costs of suit for from Milagros Runes, the proceeds of which could
the loss of their title to real property mortgaged to have been used in defraying the estimated cost of
the GSIS. the renovation of their residential house and which
could have been invested in some profitable
business undertaking.17
The Facts
In its defense, GSIS explained that the owners'
Sometime in December 1969, the spouses Deang
duplicate copy of the title was released within a
obtained a housing loan from the GSIS in the
reasonable time since it had to conduct standard
amount of eight thousand five hundred pesos
pre-audit and post-audit procedures to verify if the
(P8,500.00). Under the agreement, the loan was
spouses Deang's account had been fully settled.18
to mature on December 23, 1979. The loan was
secured by a real estate mortgage constituted over

51
On July 31, 1995, the trial court rendered a Whether the GSIS, as a GOCC primarily
decision ruling for the spouses Deang. The trial performing governmental functions, is liable for a
court reasoned that the loss of the owner's negligent act of its employee acting within the
duplicate copy of the title "in the possession of scope of his assigned tasks.25
GSIS as security for the mortgage... without
justifiable cause constitutes negligence on the part The Court's Ruling
of the employee of GSIS who lost it," making GSIS
liable for damages.19 We quote the dispositive We rule that the GSIS is liable for damages. We
portion of the decision:20 deny the petition for lack of merit.

"IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the GSIS, citing the sixth paragraph of Article 2180 of
Court renders judgment ordering the the Civil Code argues that as a GOCC, it falls
GSIS: within the term "State" and cannot be held
vicariously liable for negligence committed by its
"a) To pay the plaintiffs-spouses the employee acting within his functions.26
amount of P20,000.00 as temperate
damages; "Article 2180. The obligation imposed by
Article 2176 is demandable not only for
"b) To pay plaintiffs-spouses the amount of one's own acts or omissions, but also for
P15,000.00 as attorney's fees; those of persons for whom one is
responsible.
"c) To pay legal interest on the award in
paragraphs a) and b) from the filing of the xxx
complaint; and,
"Employers shall be liable for the damages
"d) To pay cost of the suit. caused by their employees and household
helpers acting within the scope of their
"SO ORDERED." assigned tasks, even though the former
are not engaged in any business of
On August 30, 1995, GSIS appealed the decision industry.
to the Court of Appeals.21
"The State is responsible in like
On September 21, 1998, the Court of Appeals manner when it acts though a special
promulgated a decision affirming the appealed agent, but not when the damage has been
judgment, ruling: First, since government owned caused by the official to whom the task
and controlled corporations (hereafter, "GOCCs") was done properly pertains, in which case
whose charters provide that they can sue and be what is provided in Article 2176 shall be
sued have a legal personality separate and distinct applicable.
from the government, GSIS is not covered by
Article 218022 of the Civil Code, and it is liable for xxx (italics ours)"
damages caused by their employees acting within
the scope of their assigned tasks. Second, the The argument is untenable. The cited provision of
GSIS is liable to pay a reasonable amount of the Civil Code is not applicable to the case at bar.
damages and attorney's fees, which the appellate However, the trial court and the Court of Appeals
court will not disturb. We quote the dispositive erred in citing it as the applicable law.
portion:23 Nonetheless, the conclusion is the same. As
heretofore stated, we find that GSIS is liable for
"WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error damages.
in the appealed judgment, the same is
hereby AFFIRMED. The trial court and the Court of Appeals treated the
obligation of GSIS as one springing from quasi-
"SO ORDERED." delict.27 We do not agree. Article 2176 of the Civil
Code defines quasi-delict as follows:
Hence, this appeal.24
"Whoever by act or omission causes
The Issue damages to another, there being fault or
negligence, is obliged to pay for the

52
damage done. Such fault or negligence, if evidence.33 A court can not rely on "speculation,
there is no pre-existing contractual relation conjecture or guess work" as to the fact and
between the parties, is called a quasi- amount of damages, but must depend on actual
delict and is governed by the provisions of proof.34
this Chapter (italics ours)."
However, it is also apparent that the spouses
Under the facts, there was a pre-existing contract Deang suffered financial damage because of the
between the parties. GSIS and the spouses Deang loss of the owners' duplicate copy of the title.
had a loan agreement secured by a real estate Temperate damages may be granted.
mortgage. The duty to return the owner's duplicate
copy of title arose as soon as the mortgage was "Article 2224. Temperate or moderate
released.28 GSIS insists that it was under no damages, which are more than nominal
obligation to return the owner's duplicate copy of but less than compensatory damages,
the title immediately. This insistence is not may be recovered when the court finds
warranted. Negligence is obvious as the owners' that some pecuniary loss has been
duplicate copy could not be returned to the suffered but its amount cannot, from the
owners. Thus, the more applicable provisions of nature of the case, be proved with
the Civil Code are: certainty."

"Article 1170. Those who in the GSIS submits that there must be proof of
performance of their obligations are guilty pecuniary loss. This is untenable. The rationale
of fraud, negligence, or delay and those behind temperate damages is precisely that from
who in any manner contravene the tenor the nature of the case, definite proof of pecuniary
thereof are liable for damages." loss cannot be offered. When the court is
convinced that there has been such loss, the judge
"Article 2201. In contracts and quasi- is empowered to calculate moderate damages,
contracts, the damages for which the rather than let the complainant suffer without
obligor who acted in good faith is liable redress from the defendant's wrongful act.35
shall be those that are the natural and
probable consequences of the breach of The award of twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00)
the obligation, and which the parties have in temperate damages is reasonable considering
foreseen or could have reasonably that GSIS spent for the reconstitution of the
foreseen at the time the obligation was owners' duplicate copy of the title.
constituted x x x."
Next, the attorney's fees. Attorney's fees which are
Since good faith is presumed and bad faith is a granted as an item of damages are generally not
matter of fact which should be proved,29 we shall recoverable.36The award of attorney's fees is the
treat GSIS as a party who defaulted in its exception rather than the rule and counsel's fees
obligation to return the owners' duplicate copy of are not to be awarded every time a party wins a
the title. As an obligor in good faith, GSIS is liable suit. The award of attorney's fees demands
for all the "natural and probable consequences of factual, legal and equitable justification; its basis
the breach of the obligation." The inability of the cannot be left to speculation or conjecture.37
spouses Deang to secure another loan and the
damages they suffered thereby has its roots in the We find no circumstance to justify the award of
failure of the GSIS to return the owners' duplicate attorney's fees. We delete the same.
copy of the title.
The Fallo
We come now to the amount of damages. In a
breach of contract, moral damages are not
WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition.
awarded if the defendant is not shown to have
We AFFIRM the decision of the Court of Appeals
acted fraudulently or with malice or bad faith.30 The
in CA-G.R. CV No. 51240 with
fact that the complainant suffered economic
the MODIFICATION that award of attorney's fees
hardship31 or worries and mental anxiety32 is not
is DELETED.
enough.
No costs.
There is likewise no factual basis for an award of
actual damages. Actual damages to be
compensable must be proven by clear SO ORDERED.

53
Davide, Jr., C.J., Kapunan, and Ynares-Santiago, responsibility of the parents and those who
JJ., concur. exercise parental authority over the minor
Puno, J., on official leave. offender. For civil liability arising from quasi-delicts
committed by minors, the same rules shall apply in
accordance with Articles 2180 and 2182 of the
Civil Code, as so modified.

DECISION

EN BANC REGALADO, J.:

[G.R. No. 70890. September 18, 1992.] One of the ironic verities of life, it has been said, is
that sorrow is sometimes a touchstone of love. A
CRESENCIO LIBI * and AMELIA YAP tragic illustration is provided by the instant case,
LIBI, Petitioners, v. HON. INTERMEDIATE wherein two lovers died while still in the prime of
APPELLATE COURT, FELIPE GOTIONG and their years, a bitter episode for those whose lives
SHIRLEY GOTIONG, Respondents. they have touched. While we cannot expect to
award complete assuagement to their families
Alex Y. Tan, for Petitioners. through seemingly prosaic legal verbiage, this
disposition should at least terminate the acrimony
Mario D. Ortiz and Danilo V. Ortiz for Private and rancor of an extended judicial contest
Respondents. resulting from the unfortunate occurrence.

In this final denouement of the judicial recourse the


SYLLABUS stages whereof were alternately initiated by the
parties, petitioners are now before us seeking the
1. CIVIL LAW; QUASI DELICT; LIABILITY OF reversal of the judgment of respondent court
PARENTS FOR CIVIL LIABILITY ARISING FROM promulgated on January 2, 1985 in AC-G.R. CV
CRIMINAL OFFENSES COMMITTED BY THEIR No. 69060 with the following decretal portion:
MINOR CHILDREN; RULE. — The parents are
and should be held primarily liable for the civil "WHEREFORE, the decision of the lower court
liability arising from criminal offenses committed dismissing plaintiff’s complaint is hereby reversed;
by their minor children under their legal authority and instead, judgment is hereby rendered
or control, or who live in their company, unless it is sentencing defendants, jointly and solidarily, to
proven that the former acted with the diligence of pay to plaintiffs the following amounts:
a good father of a family to prevent such damages.
That primary liability is premised on the provisions 1. Moral damages, P30,000.000;
of Article 101 of the Revised Penal Code with
respect to damages ex delicto caused by their 2. Exemplary damages, P10,000.00;
children 9 years of age or under, or over 9 but
under 15 years of age who acted without 3. Attorney’s fees, P20,000.00, and costs.
discernment; and, with regard to their children over
9 but under 15 years of age who acted with However, denial of defendants-appellees’
discernment, or 15 years or over but under 21 counterclaims is affirmed." 1
years of age, such primary liability shall be
imposed pursuant to Article 2180 of the Civil Code. Synthesized from the findings of the lower courts,
Under said Article 2180, the enforcement of such it appears that respondent spouses are the
liability shall be effected against the father and, in legitimate parents of Julie Ann Gotiong who, at the
case of his death or incapacity, the mother. This time of the deplorable incident which took place
was amplified by the Child and Youth Welfare and from which she died on January 14, 1979, was
Code which provides that the same shall devolve an 18-year old first year commerce student of the
upon the father and, in case of his death or University of San Carlos, Cebu City; while
incapacity, upon the mother or, in case of her petitioners are the parents of Wendell Libi, then a
death or incapacity, upon the guardian, but the minor between 18 and 19 years of age living with
liability may also be voluntarily assumed by a his aforesaid parents, and who also died in the
relative or family friend of the youthful offender. same event on the same date.
However, under the Family Code, this civil liability
is now, without such alternative qualification, the For more than two (2) years before their deaths,

54
Julie Ann Gotiong and Wendell Libi were On appeal to respondent court, said judgment of
sweethearts until December, 1978 when Julie Ann the lower court dismissing the complaint of therein
broke up her relationship with Wendell after she plaintiffs-appellants was set aside and another
supposedly found him to be sadistic and judgment was rendered against defendants-
irresponsible. During the first and second weeks of appellees who, as petitioners in the present appeal
January, 1979, Wendell kept pestering Julie Ann by certiorari, now submit for resolution the
with demands for reconciliation but the latter following issues in this case:
persisted in her refusal, prompting the former to
resort to threats against her. In order to avoid him, 1. Whether or not respondent court correctly
Julie Ann stayed in the house of her best friend, reversed the trial court in accordance with
Malou Alfonso, at the corner of Maria Cristina and established decisional laws; and
Juana Osmeña Streets, Cebu City, from January
7 to 13, 1978. 2. Whether or not Article 2180 of the Civil Code
was correctly interpreted by respondent court to
On January 14, 1979, Julie Ann and Wendell died, make petitioners liable for vicarious liability. 3
each from a single gunshot wound inflicted with the
same firearm, a Smith and Wesson revolver In the proceedings before the trial court, Dr. Jesus
licensed in the name of petitioner Cresencio Libi, P. Cerna, Police Medico-Legal Officer of Cebu,
which was recovered from the scene of the crime submitted his findings and opinions on some
inside the residence of private respondents at the postulates for determining whether or not the
corner of General Maxilom and D. Jakosalem gunshot wound was inflicted on Wendell Libi by his
streets of the same city. own suicidal act. However, undue emphasis was
placed by the lower court on the absence of
Due to the absence of an eyewitness account of gunpowder or tattooing around the wound at the
the circumstances surrounding the death of both point of entry of the bullet. It should be
minors, their parents, who are the contending emphasized, however, that this is not the only
parties herein, posited their respective theories circumstance to be taken into account in the
drawn from their interpretation of circumstantial determination of whether it was suicide or not.
evidence, available reports, documents and
evidence of physical facts. It is true that said witness declared that he found
no evidence of contact or close-contact of an
Private respondents, bereaved over the death of explosive discharge in the entrance wound.
their daughter, submitted that Wendell caused her However, as pointed out by private respondents,
death by shooting her with the aforesaid firearm the body of deceased Wendell Libi must have
and, thereafter, turning the gun on himself to been washed at the funeral parlor, considering the
commit suicide. On the other hand, Petitioners, hasty interment thereof a little after eight (8) hours
puzzled and likewise distressed over the death of from the occurrence wherein he died. Dr. Cerna
their son, rejected the imputation and contended himself could not categorically state that the body
that an unknown third party, whom Wendell may of Wendell Libi was left untouched at the funeral
have displeased or antagonized by reason of his parlor before he was able to conduct his autopsy.
work as a narcotics informer of the Constabulary It will also be noted that Dr. Cerna was negligent
Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU), must have caused in not conducting a paraffin test on Wendell Libi,
Wendell’s death and then shot Julie Ann to hence possible evidence of gunpowder residue on
eliminate any witness and thereby avoid Wendell’s hands was forever lost when Wendell
identification. was hastily buried.

As a result of the tragedy, the parents of Julie Ann More specifically, Dr. Cerna testified that he
filed Civil Case No. R-17774 in the then Court of conducted an autopsy on the body of Wendell Libi
First Instance of Cebu against the parents of about eight (8) hours after the incident or, to be
Wendell to recover damages arising from the exact, eight (8) hours and twenty (20) minutes
latter’s vicarious liability under Article 2180 of the based on the record of death; that when he arrived
Civil Code. After trial, the court below rendered at the Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes, the body of
judgment on October 20, 1980 as follows: the deceased was already on the autopsy table
and in the stage of rigor mortis; and that said body
"WHEREFORE, premises duly considered, was not washed, but it was dried. 4 However, on
judgment is hereby rendered dismissing plaintiffs’ redirect examination, he admitted that during the
complaint for insufficiency of the evidence. 8-hour interval, he never saw the body nor did he
Defendants’ counterclaim is likewise denied for see whether said body was wiped or washed in the
lack of sufficient merit." 2 area of the wound on the head which he examined

55
because the deceased was inside the morgue. 5
In fact, on cross-examination, he had earlier
admitted that as far as the entrance of the wound, "Gunshot wound, ENTRANCE, ovaloid, 0.5 x 0.4
the trajectory of the bullet and the exit of the wound cm., with contusion collar widest inferiorly by 0.2
are concerned, it is possible that Wendell Libi shot cm., edges inverted, oriented upward, located at
himself. the head, temporal region, right, 2.8 cms. behind
and 5.5 cms. above right external auditory meatus,
He further testified that the muzzle of the gun was directed slightly forward, upward and to the left,
not pressed on the head of the victim and that he involving skin and soft tissues, making a punch-in
found no burning or singeing of the hair or fracture on the temporal bone, right, penetrating
extensive laceration on the gunshot wound of cranial cavity, lacerating extensively along its
entrance which are general characteristics of course the brain tissues, fracturing parietal bone,
contact or near-contact fire. On direct examination, left, and finally making an EXIT wound, irregular,
Dr. Cerna nonetheless made these clarification: 2.0 x 1.8 cms., edges (e)verted, parietal region,
left, 2.0 cms. behind and 12.9 cms. above left
"Q Is it not a fact that there are certain guns which external auditory meatus.
are so made that there would be no black residue
or tattooing that could result from these guns x x x
because they are what we call clean?

A Yes, sir. I know that there are what we call "Evidence of contact or close-contact fire, such as
smokeless powder. burning around the gunshot wound of entrance,
gunpowder tatooing (sic), smudging, singeing of
ATTY. ORTIZ: hair, extensive laceration or bursting of the
gunshot wound of entrance, or separation of the
Q Yes. So, in cases, therefore, of guns where the skin from the underlying tissue, are absent." 10
powder is smokeless, those indications that you
said may not rule out the possibility that the gun On cross-examination, Dr. Cerna demonstrated
was closer than 24 inches, is that correct? his theory which was made of record, thus:

A If the . . . assuming that the gun used was .. the "Q Now, will you please use yourself as Wendell
bullet used was a smokeless powder. Libi, and following the entrance of the wound, the
trajectory of the bullet and the exit of the wound,
Q At any rate, doctor, from . . . disregarding those and measuring yourself 24 inches, will you please
other matters that you have noticed, the singeing, indicate to the Honorable Court how would it have
etc., from the trajectory, based on the trajectory of been possible for Wendell Libi to kill himself? Will
the bullet as shown in your own sketch, is it not a you please indicate the 24 inches?
fact that the gun could have been fired by the
person himself, the victim himself, Wendell Libi, WITNESS:
because it shows a point of entry a little above the
right ear and point of exit a little above that, to be A Actually, sir, the 24 inches is approximately one
very fair and on your oath? arm’s length.

A As far as the point of entrance is concerned and ATTY. SENINING:


as far as the trajectory of the bullet is concerned
and as far as the angle or the manner of fire is I would like to make of record that the witness has
concerned, it could have been fired by the victim." demonstrated by extending his right arm almost
straight towards his head." 11
As shown by the evidence, there were only two
used bullets 8 found at the scene of the crime, Private respondents assail the fact that the trial
each of which were the bullets that hit Julie Ann court gave credence to the testimonies of
Gotiong and Wendell Libi, respectively. Also, the defendants’ witnesses Lydia Ang and James
sketch prepared by the Medico-Legal Division of Enrique Tan, the first being a resident of an
the National Bureau of Investigation, 9 shows that apartment across the street from the Gotiongs and
there is only one gunshot wound of entrance the second, a resident of the house adjacent to the
located at the right temple of Wendell Libi. The Gotiong residence, who declared having seen a
necropsy report prepared by Dr. Cerna states: "shadow" of a person at the gate of the Gotiong
house after hearing shots therefrom.
x x x

56
On cross-examination, Lydia Ang testified that the on inside the Gotiong house, he heard the first
apartment where she was staying faces the gas shot; and, not more than five (5) seconds later, he
station; that it is the second apartment; that from heard another shot. Consequently, he went down
her window she can see directly the gate of the from the fence and drove to the police station to
Gotiongs and, that there is a firewall between her report the incident. 15 Manolo’s direct and candid
apartment and the gas station. 12 After seeing a testimony establishes and explains the fact that it
man jump from the gate of the Gotiongs to the was he whom Lydia Ang and James Enrique Tan
rooftop of the Tans, she called the police station saw as the "shadow" of a man at the gate of the
but the telephone lines were busy. Later on, she Gotiong house.
talked with James Enrique Tan and told him that
she saw a man leap from the gate towards his We have perforce to reject petitioners’ effete and
rooftop. unsubstantiated pretension that it was another
man who shot Wendell and Julie Ann. It is
However, James Enrique Tan testified that he saw significant that the Libi family did not even point to
a "shadow" on top of the gate of the Gotiongs, but or present any suspect in the crime nor did they file
denied having talked with anyone regarding what any case against any alleged "John Doe." Nor can
he saw. He explained that he lives in a duplex we sustain the trial court’s dubious theory that
house with a garden in front of it; that his house is Wendell Libi did not die by his own hand because
next to Felipe Gotiong’s house; and he further of the overwhelming evidence — testimonial,
gave the following answers to these questions: documentary and pictorial — the confluence of
which point to Wendell as the assailant of Julie
"ATTY. ORTIZ: (TO WITNESS). Ann, his motive being revenge for her rejection of
his persistent pleas for a reconciliation.
Q What is the height of the wall of the Gotiong’s in
relation to your house? Petitioners’ defense that they had exercised the
due diligence of a good father of a family, hence
WITNESS: they should not be civilly liable for the crime
committed by their minor son, is not borne out by
A It is about 8 feet. the evidence on record either.

ATTY. ORTIZ: (TO WITNESS) Petitioner Amelita Yap Libi, mother of Wendell,
testified that her husband, Cresencio Libi, owns a
Q And where were you looking from? gun which he kept in a safety deposit box inside a
drawer in their bedroom. Each of these petitioners
WITNESS: holds a key to the safety deposit box and Amelita’s
key is always in her bag, all of which facts were
A From upstairs in my living room. known to Wendell. They have never seen their son
Wendell taking or using the gun. She admitted,
ATTY. ORTIZ (TO WITNESS) however, that on that fateful night the gun was no
longer in the safety deposit box. 16 We,
Q From Your living room window, is that correct? accordingly, cannot but entertain serious doubts
that petitioner spouses had really been exercising
WITNESS: the diligence of a good father of a family by safely
locking the fatal gun away. Wendell could not have
A Yes, but not very clear because the wall is high." gotten hold thereof unless one of the keys to the
14 safety deposit box was negligently left lying around
or he had free access to the bag of his mother
Analyzing the foregoing testimonies, we agree where the other key was.
with respondent court that the same do not inspire
credence as to the reliability and accuracy of the The diligence of a good father of a family required
witnesses’ observations, since the visual by law in a parent and child relationship consists,
perceptions of both were obstructed by high walls to a large extent, of the instruction and supervision
in their respective houses in relation to the house of the child. Petitioners were gravely remiss in their
of herein private respondents. On the other hand, duties as parents in not diligently supervising the
witness Manolo Alfonso, testifying on rebuttal, activities of their son, despite his minority and
attested without contradiction that he and his immaturity, so much so that it was only at the time
sister, Malou Alfonso, were waiting for Julie Ann of Wendell’s death that they allegedly discovered
Gotiong when they heard her scream; that when that he was a CANU agent and that Cresencio’s
Manolo climbed the fence to see what was going gun was missing from the safety deposit box. Both

57
parents were sadly wanting in their duty and for the damages caused by his or her son, no
responsibility in monitoring and knowing the liability would attach if the damage is caused with
activities of their children who, for all they know, criminal intent.’ (3 SCRA 361-362).
may be engaged in dangerous work such as being
drug informers, 17 or even drug users. Neither was
a plausible explanation given for the photograph of ". . . In the instant case, minor son of herein
Wendell, with a handwritten dedication to Julie defendants-appellees, Wendell Libi somehow got
Ann at the back thereof, 18 holding upright what hold of the key to the drawer where said gun was
clearly appears as a revolver and on how or why kept under lock without defendant-spouses ever
he was in possession of that firearm. knowing that said gun had been missing from that
safety box since 1978 when Wendell Libi had) a
In setting aside the judgment of the court a quo picture taken wherein he proudly displayed said
and holding petitioners civilly liable, as explained gun and dedicated this picture to his sweetheart,
at the start of this opinion, respondent court waved Julie Ann Gotiong; also since then, Wendell Libi
aside the protestations of diligence on the part of was said to have kept said gun in his car, in
petitioners and had this to say: keeping up with his supposed role of a CANU
agent . . ."
". . . It is still the duty of parents to know the activity
of their children who may be engaged in this x x x
dangerous activity involving the menace of drugs.
Had the defendants-appellees been diligent in "Based on the foregoing discussions of the
supervising the activities of their son, Wendell, and assigned errors, this Court holds that the lower
in keeping said gun from his reach, they could court was not correct in dismissing herein
have prevented Wendell from killing Julie Ann plaintiffs-appellants’ complaint because as
Gotiong. Therefore, appellants are liable under preponderantly shown by evidence, defendants-
Article 2180 of the Civil Code which provides: appellees utterly failed to exercise all the diligence
of a good father of the family in preventing their
‘The father, and in case of his death or incapacity, minor son from committing this crime by means of
the mother, are responsible for the damages the gun of defendants-appellees which was freely
caused by their minor children who live in their accessible to Wendell Libi for they have not
company.’ regularly checked whether said gun was still under
lock, but learned that it was missing from the safety
"Having been grossly negligent in preventing deposit box only after the crime had been
Wendell Libi from having access to said gun which committed." (Emphases ours.) 19
was allegedly kept in a safety deposit box,
defendants-appellees are subsidiarily liable for the We agree with the conclusion of respondent court
natural consequence of the criminal act of said that petitioners should be held liable for the civil
minor who was living in their company. This liability based on what appears from all indications
vicarious liability of herein defendants-appellees was a crime committed by their minor son. We take
has been reiterated by the Supreme Court in many this opportunity, however, to digress and discuss
cases, prominent of which is the case of Fuellas v. its ratiocination therefor on jurisprudential dicta
Cadano, et. al. (L-14409, Oct. 31, 1961, 3 SCRA which we feel require clarification.
361-367), which held that:
‘The subsidiary liability of parents for damages In imposing sanctions for the so-called vicarious
caused by their minor children imposed by Article liability of petitioners, respondent court cites
2180 of the New Civil Code covers obligations Fuellas v. Cadano, Et. Al. 20 which supposedly
arising from both quasi-delicts and criminal holds that" (t)he subsidiary liability of parents for
offenses.’ damages caused by their minor children imposed
by Article 2180 of the New Civil Code covers
‘The subsidiary liability of parent’s arising from the obligations arising from both quasi-delicts and
criminal acts of their minor children who acted with criminal offenses," followed by an extended
discernment is determined under the provisions of quotation ostensibly from the same case
Article 2180, N.C.C. and under Article 101 of the explaining why under Article 2180 of the Civil Code
Revised Penal Code, because to hold that the and Article 101 of the Revised Penal Code parents
former only covers obligations which arise from should assume subsidiary liability for damages
quasi-delicts and not obligations which arise from caused by their minor children. The quoted
criminal offenses, would result in the absurdity that passages are set out two paragraphs back, with
while for an act where mere negligence intervenes pertinent underscoring for purposes of the
the father or mother may stand subsidiarily liable discussion hereunder.

58
Now, we do not have any objection to the doctrinal negligence on their part, that is, the exercise of the
rule holding, the parents liable, but the diligence of a good father of a family.
categorization of their liability as being subsidiary,
and not primary, in nature requires a hard second That in both quasi-delicts and crimes the parents
look considering previous decisions of this court primarily respond for such damages is buttressed
on the matter which warrant comparative by the corresponding provisions in both codes that
analyses. Our concern stems from our readings the minor transgressor shall be answerable or
that if the liability of the parents for crimes or quasi- shall respond with his own property only in the
delicts of their minor children is subsidiary, then absence or in case of insolvency of the former.
the parents can neither invoke nor be absolved of Thus, for civil liability ex quasi delicto of minors,
civil liability on the defense that they acted with the Article 2182 of the Civil Code states that" (i)f the
diligence of a good father of a family to prevent minor causing damage has no parents or
damages. On the other hand, if such liability guardian, the minor . . . shall be answerable with
imputed to the parents is considered direct and his own property in an action against him where a
primary, that diligence would constitute a valid and guardian ad litem shall be appointed." For civil
substantial defense. liability ex delicto of minors, an equivalent
provision is found in the third paragraph of Article
We believe that the civil liability of parents for 101 of the Revised Penal Code, to wit:
quasi-delicts of their minor children, as
contemplated in Article 2180 of the Civil Code, is "Should there be no person having such . . . minor
primary and not subsidiary. In fact, if we apply under his authority, legal guardianship or control,
Article 2194 of said code which provides for or if such person be insolvent, said . . . minor shall
solidary liability of joint tortfeasors, the persons respond with (his) own property, excepting
responsible for the act or omission, in this case the property exempt from execution, in accordance
minor and the father and, in case of his death of with civil law."
incapacity, the mother, are solidarily liable.
Accordingly, such parental liability is primary and The civil liability of parents for felonies committed
not subsidiary, hence the last paragraph of Article by their minor children contemplated in the
2180 provides that" (t)he responsibility treated of aforesaid rule in Article 101 of the Revised Penal
in this article shall cease when the persons herein Code in relation to Article 2180 of the Civil Code
mentioned prove that they observed all the has, aside from the aforecited case of Fuellas,
diligence of a good father of a family to prevent been the subject of a number of cases adjudicated
damages." by this Court, viz.: Exconde v. Capuno, Et Al., 22
Araneta v. Arreglado, 23 Salen, Et. Al. v. Balce, 24
We are also persuaded that the liability of the Paleyan, etc., Et. Al. v. Bangkili, Et Al., 25 and
parents for felonies committed by their minor Elcano, et al, v. Hill, Et. Al. 26 Parenthetically, the
children is likewise primary, not subsidiary. Article aforesaid cases were basically on the issue of the
101 of the Revised Penal Code provides: civil liability of parents for crimes committed by
their minor children over 9 but under 15 years of
"ARTICLE 101. Rules regarding civil liability in age, who acted with discernment, and also of
certain cases. — minors 15 years of aye or over, since these
situations are not covered by Article 101, Revised
x x x Penal Code. In both instances, this Court held that
the issue of parental civil liability should be
First. In cases of subdivisions . . . 2, and 3 of Article resolved in accordance with the provisions of
12, the civil liability for acts committed by . . . a Article 2180 of the Civil Code for the reasons well
person under nine years of age, or by one over expressed in Salen and adopted in the cases
nine but under fifteen years of age, who has acted hereinbefore enumerated that to hold that the civil
without discernment, shall devolve upon those liability under Article 2180 would apply only to
having such person under their legal authority or quasi-delicts and not to criminal offenses would
control, unless it appears that there was no fault or result in the absurdity that in an act involving mere
negligence on their part." (Emphasis supplied.) 21 negligence the parents would be liable but not
where the damage is caused with criminal intent.
Accordingly, just like the rule in Article 2180 of the In said cases, however, there are unfortunate
Civil Code, under the foregoing provision the civil variances resulting in a regrettable inconsistency
liability of the parents for crimes committed by their in the Court’s determination of whether the liability
minor children is likewise direct and primary, and of the parents, in cases involving either crimes or
also subject to the defense of lack of fault or quasi-delicts of their minor children, is primary or
subsidiary.

59
was the syllabus on the law report of said case
In Exconde, where the 15-year old minor was which spoke of "subsidiary" liability. However,
convicted of double homicide through reckless such categorization does not specifically appear in
imprudence, in a separate civil action arising from the text of the decision in Fuellas. In fact, after
the crime the minor and his father were held jointly reviewing therein the cases of Exconde, Araneta
and severally liable for failure of the latter to prove and Salen and the discussions in said cases of
the diligence of a good father of a family. The same Article 101 of the Revised Penal Code in relation
liability in solidum and, therefore, primary liability to Article 2180 of the Civil Code, this Court
was imposed in a separate civil action in Araneta concluded its decision in this wise:
on the parents and their 14-year old son who was
found guilty of frustrated homicide, but on the "Moreover, the case at bar was decided by the
authority of Article 2194 of the Civil Code providing Court of Appeals on the basis of evidence
for solidary responsibility of two or more persons submitted therein by both parties, independent of
who are liable for a quasi-delict. the criminal case. And responsibility for fault or
negligence under Article 2176 upon which the
However, in Salen, the father was declared present action was instituted, is entirely separate
subsidiarily liable for damages arising from the and distinct from the civil liability arising from fault
conviction of his son, who was over 15 but less or negligence under the Penal Code (Art. 2177),
than 18 years of age, by applying Article 2180 but, and having in mind the reasons behind the law as
this time, disregarding Article 2194 of the Civil heretofore stated, any discussion as to the minor’s
Code. In the present case, as already explained, criminal responsibility is of no moment." 1aw
the petitioners herein were also held liable but library
supposedly in line with Fuellas which purportedly
declared the parents subsidiarily liable for the civil Under the foregoing considerations, therefore, we
liability for serious physical injuries committed by hereby rule that the parents are and should be held
their 13-year old son. On the other hand, in primarily liable for the civil liability arising from
Paleyan, the mother and her 19-year old son were criminal offenses committed by their minor
adjudged solidarily liable for damages arising from children under their legal authority or control, or
his conviction for homicide by the application of who live in their company, unless it is proven that
Article 2180 of the Civil Code since this is likewise the former acted with the diligence of a good father
not covered by Article 101 of the Revised Penal of a family to prevent such damages. That primary
Code. Finally, in Elcano, although the son was liability is premised on the provisions of Article 101
acquitted in a homicide charge due to "lack of of the Revised Penal Code with respect to
intent, coupled with mistake," it was ruled that damages ex delicto caused by their children 9
while under Article 2180 of the Civil Code there years of age or under, or over 9 but under 15 years
should be solidary liability for damages, since the of age who acted without discernment; and, with
son, "although married, was living with his father regard to their children over 9 but under 15 years
and getting subsistence from him at the time of the of age who acted with discernment, or 15 years or
occurrence," but "is now of age, as a matter of over but under 21 years of age, such primary
equity" the father was only held subsidiarily liable. liability shall be imposed pursuant to Article 2180
of the Civil Code. 31
It bears stressing, however, that the Revised
Penal Code provides for subsidiary liability only for Under said Article 2180, the enforcement of such
persons causing damages under the compulsion liability shall be effected against the father and, in
of irresistible force or under the impulse of an case of his death or incapacity, the mother. This
uncontrollable fear; 27 innkeepers, tavernkeepers was amplified by the Child and Youth Welfare
and proprietors of establishments; 28 employers, Code which provides that the same shall devolve
teachers, persons and corporations engaged in upon the father and, in case of his death or
industry; 29 and principals, accomplices and incapacity, upon the mother or, in case of her
accessories for the unpaid civil liability of their co- death or incapacity, upon the guardian, but the
accused in the other classes. 30 liability may also be voluntarily assumed by a
relative or family friend of the youthful offender. 32
Also, coming back to respondent court’s reliance However, under the Family Code, this civil liability
on Fuellas in its decision in the present case, it is is now, without such alternative qualification, the
not exactly accurate to say that Fuellas provided responsibility of the parents and those who
for subsidiary liability of the parents therein. A exercise parental authority over the minor
careful scrutiny shows that what respondent court offender. 33 For civil liability arising from quasi-
quoted verbatim in its decision now on appeal in delicts committed by minors, the same rules shall
the present case, and which it attributed to Fuellas,

60
apply in accordance with Articles 2180 and 2182 WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is
of the Civil Code, as so modified. hereby AFFIRMED except the award of
attorney’s fees including appearance fees
In the case at bar, whether the death of the which is DELETED.
hapless Julie Ann Gotiong was caused by a felony
or a quasi-delict committed by Wendell Libi, SO ORDERED.2
respondent court did not err in holding petitioners
liable for damages arising therefrom. Subject to The facts of the case, as summarized by the Court
the preceding modifications of the premises relied of Appeals, are as follows:
upon by it therefor and on the bases of the legal
imperatives herein explained, we conjoin in its
[Respondent] Priscilla R. Domingo is the
findings that said petitioners failed to duly exercise
registered owner of a silver Mitsubishi
the requisite diligentissimi patris familias to
Lancer Car model 1980 bearing plate No.
prevent such damages.
NDW 781 ’91 with [co-respondent]
Leandro Luis R. Domingo as authorized
ACCORDINGLY, the instant Petition is DENIED
driver. [Petitioner] Nostradamus
and the assailed judgment of respondent Court of
Villanueva was then the registered
Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED, with costs against
"owner" of a green Mitsubishi Lancer
petitioners.
bearing Plate No. PHK 201 ’91.
SO ORDERED.
On 22 October 1991 at about 9:45 in the
Narvasa, C.J., Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Padilla, Bidin, evening, following a green traffic light,
Griño-Aquino, Medialdea, Romero, Nocon and [respondent] Priscilla Domingo’s silver
Bellosillo, Jr., JJ., concur. Lancer car with Plate No. NDW 781 ’91
then driven by [co-respondent] Leandro
Feliciano, J., is on leave. Luis R. Domingo was cruising along the
middle lane of South Superhighway at
Davide, Jr., J., took no part. I used to be counsel moderate speed from north to south.
of one of the parties. Suddenly, a green Mitsubishi Lancer with
plate No. PHK 201 ’91 driven by Renato
Melo and Campos, Jr., JJ., took no part. Dela Cruz Ocfemia darted from Vito Cruz
Street towards the South Superhighway
directly into the path of NDW 781 ’91
thereby hitting and bumping its left front
portion. As a result of the impact, NDW
781 ’91 hit two (2) parked vehicles at the
roadside, the second hitting another
parked car in front of it.
THIRD DIVISION
Per Traffic Accident Report prepared by
G.R. No. 144274 September 20, 2004 Traffic Investigator Pfc. Patrocinio N.
Acido, Renato dela Cruz Ocfemia was
driving with expired license and positive for
NOSTRADAMUS VILLANUEVA, petitioner,
alcoholic breath. Hence, Manila Assistant
vs.
City Prosecutor Oscar A. Pascua
PRISCILLA R. DOMINGO and LEANDRO LUIS
recommended the filing of information for
R. DOMINGO, respondents.
reckless imprudence resulting to (sic)
damage to property and physical injuries.
DECISION
The original complaint was amended
CORONA, J.: twice: first, impleading Auto Palace Car
Exchange as commercial agent and/or
This is a petition to review the decision1 of the buyer-seller and second, impleading
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 52203 Albert Jaucian as principal defendant
affirming in turn the decision of the trial court doing business under the name and style
finding petitioner liable to respondent for damages. of Auto Palace Car Exchange.
The dispositive portion read:

61
Except for Ocfemia, all the defendants VEHICULAR ACCIDENT INVOLVING HIS
filed separate answers to the complaint. MOTOR VEHICLE WHILE BEING
[Petitioner] Nostradamus Villanueva OPERATED BY THE EMPLOYEE OF ITS
claimed that he was no longer the owner BUYER WITHOUT THE LATTER’S
of the car at the time of the mishap CONSENT AND KNOWLEDGE?5
because it was swapped with a Pajero
owned by Albert Jaucian/Auto Palace Car Yes.
Exchange. For her part, Linda Gonzales
declared that her presence at the scene of We have consistently ruled that the registered
the accident was upon the request of the owner of any vehicle is directly and primarily
actual owner of the Mitsubishi Lancer responsible to the public and third persons while it
(PHK 201 ’91) [Albert Jaucian] for whom is being operated.6 The rationale behind such
she had been working as agent/seller. On doctrine was explained way back in 1957 in Erezo
the other hand, Auto Palace Car Exchange vs. Jepte7:
represented by Albert Jaucian claimed that
he was not the registered owner of the car.
The principle upon which this doctrine is based is
Moreover, it could not be held subsidiary
that in dealing with vehicles registered under the
liable as employer of Ocfemia because the
Public Service Law, the public has the right to
latter was off-duty as utility employee at
assume or presume that the registered owner is
the time of the incident. Neither was
the actual owner thereof, for it would be difficult for
Ocfemia performing a duty related to his
the public to enforce the actions that they may
employment.3
have for injuries caused to them by the vehicles
being negligently operated if the public should be
After trial, the trial court found petitioner liable and required to prove who the actual owner is. How
ordered him to pay respondent actual, moral and would the public or third persons know against
exemplary damages plus appearance and whom to enforce their rights in case of subsequent
attorney’s fees: transfers of the vehicles? We do not imply by his
doctrine, however, that the registered owner may
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby not recover whatever amount he had paid by virtue
rendered for the plaintiffs, ordering of his liability to third persons from the person to
Nostradamus Villanueva to pay the whom he had actually sold, assigned or conveyed
amount of ₱99,580 as actual damages, the vehicle.
₱25,000.00 as moral damages,
₱25,000.00 as exemplary damages and Under the same principle the registered
attorney’s fees in the amount of owner of any vehicle, even if not used for
₱10,000.00 plus appearance fees of a public service, should primarily be
₱500.00 per hearing with legal interest responsible to the public or to third persons
counted from the date of judgment. In for injuries caused the latter while the
conformity with the law on equity and in vehicle is being driven on the highways or
accordance with the ruling in First Malayan streets. The members of the Court are in
Lending and Finance Corporation vs. agreement that the defendant-appellant
Court of Appeals (supra), Albert Jaucian is should be held liable to plaintiff-appellee
hereby ordered to indemnify Nostradamus for the injuries occasioned to the latter
Villanueva for whatever amount the latter because of the negligence of the driver,
is hereby ordered to pay under the even if the defendant-appellant was no
judgment. longer the owner of the vehicle at the time
of the damage because he had previously
SO ORDERED.4 sold it to another. What is the legal basis
for his (defendant-appellant’s) liability?
The CA upheld the trial court’s decision but deleted
the award for appearance and attorney’s fees There is a presumption that the owner of the guilty
because the justification for the grant was not vehicle is the defendant-appellant as he is the
stated in the body of the decision. Thus, this registered owner in the Motor Vehicles Office.
petition for review which raises a singular issue: Should he not be allowed to prove the truth, that
he had sold it to another and thus shift the
MAY THE REGISTERED OWNER OF A responsibility for the injury to the real and actual
MOTOR VEHICLE BE HELD LIABLE FOR owner? The defendant holds the affirmative of this
DAMAGES ARISING FROM A proposition; the trial court held the negative.

62
The Revised Motor Vehicle Law (Act No. 3992, as rendering it certain that the violator of the law or of
amended) provides that no vehicle may be used or the rules of safety shall not escape because of lack
operated upon any public highway unless the of means to discover him. The purpose of the
same is property registered. It has been stated that statute is thwarted, and the displayed number
the system of licensing and the requirement that becomes a "share and delusion," if courts would
each machine must carry a registration number, entertain such defenses as that put forward by
conspicuously displayed, is one of the precautions appellee in this case. No responsible person or
taken to reduce the danger of injury to pedestrians corporation could be held liable for the most
and other travelers from the careless management outrageous acts of negligence, if they should be
of automobiles. And to furnish a means of allowed to pace a "middleman" between them and
ascertaining the identity of persons violating the the public, and escape liability by the manner in
laws and ordinances, regulating the speed and which they recompense servants. (King vs.
operation of machines upon the highways (2 Brenham Automobile Co., Inc. 145 S.W. 278, 279.)
R.C.L. 1176). Not only are vehicles to be
registered and that no motor vehicles are to be With the above policy in mind, the question that
used or operated without being properly registered defendant-appellant poses is: should not the
for the current year, but that dealers in motor registered owner be allowed at the trial to prove
vehicles shall furnish thee Motor Vehicles Office a who the actual and real owner is, and in
report showing the name and address of each accordance with such proof escape or evade
purchaser of motor vehicle during the previous responsibility by and lay the same on the person
month and the manufacturer’s serial number and actually owning the vehicle? We hold with the trial
motor number. (Section 5(c), Act No. 3992, as court that the law does not allow him to do so; the
amended.) law, with its aim and policy in mind, does not
relieve him directly of the responsibility that the law
Registration is required not to make said fixes and places upon him as an incident or
registration the operative act by which ownership consequence of registration. Were a registered
in vehicles is transferred, as in land registration owner allowed to evade responsibility by proving
cases, because the administrative proceeding of who the supposed transferee or owner is, it would
registration does not bear any essential relation to be easy for him, by collusion with others or
the contract of sale between the parties (Chinchilla otherwise, to escape said responsibility and
vs. Rafael and Verdaguer, 39 Phil. 888), but to transfer the same to an indefinite person, or to one
permit the use and operation of the vehicle upon who possesses no property with which to respond
any public highway (section 5 [a], Act No. 3992, as financially for the damage or injury done. A victim
amended). The main aim of motor vehicle of recklessness on the public highways is usually
registration is to identify the owner so that if any without means to discover or identify the person
accident happens, or that any damage or injury is actually causing the injury or damage. He has no
caused by the vehicle on the public highways, means other than by a recourse to the registration
responsibility therefore can be fixed on a definite in the Motor Vehicles Office to determine who is
individual, the registered owner. Instances are the owner. The protection that the law aims to
numerous where vehicles running on public extend to him would
highways caused accidents or injuries to
pedestrians or other vehicles without positive become illusory were the registered owner given
identification of the owner or drivers, or with very the opportunity to escape liability by disproving his
scant means of identification. It is to forestall these ownership. If the policy of the law is to be enforced
circumstances, so inconvenient or prejudicial to and carried out, the registered owner should not
the public, that the motor vehicle registration is be allowed to prove the contrary to the prejudice of
primarily ordained, in the interest of the the person injured, that is, to prove that a third
determination of persons responsible for damages person or another has become the owner, so that
or injuries caused on public highways: he may thereby be relieved of the responsibility to
the injured person.
One of the principal purposes of motor vehicles
legislation is identification of the vehicle and of the The above policy and application of the law may
operator, in case of accident; and another is that appear quite harsh and would seem to conflict with
the knowledge that means of detection are always truth and justice. We do not think it is so. A
available may act as a deterrent from lax registered owner who has already sold or
observance of the law and of the rules of transferred a vehicle has the recourse to a third-
conservative and safe operation. Whatever party complaint, in the same action brought
purpose there may be in these statutes, it is against him to recover for the damage or injury
subordinate at the last to the primary purpose of done, against the vendee or transferee of the

63
vehicle. The inconvenience of the suit is no accident even if the vehicle involved was already
justification for relieving him of liability; said owned by another party:
inconvenience is the price he pays for failure to
comply with the registration that the law demands This Court has consistently ruled that
and requires. regardless of who the actual owner is of a
motor vehicle might be, the registered
In synthesis, we hold that the registered owner, the owner is the operator of the same with
defendant-appellant herein, is primarily respect to the public and third persons,
responsible for the damage caused to the vehicle and as such, directly and primarily
of the plaintiff-appellee, but he (defendant- responsible for the consequences of its
appellant) has a right to be indemnified by the real operation. In contemplation of law, the
or actual owner of the amount that he may be owner/operator of record is the employer
required to pay as damage for the injury caused to of the driver, the actual operator and
the plaintiff-appellant.8 employer being considered merely as his
agent (MYC-Agro-Industrial Corporation
Petitioner insists that he is not liable for damages vs. Vda. de Caldo, 132 SCRA 10,
since the driver of the vehicle at the time of the citing Vargas vs. Langcay, 6 SCRA
accident was not an authorized driver of the new 174; Tamayo vs. Aquino, 105 Phil. 949).
(actual) owner of the vehicle. He claims that the
ruling in First Malayan Leasing and Finance ‘We believe that it is immaterial
Corporation vs. CA9 implies that to hold the whether or not the driver was
registered owner liable for damages, the driver of actually employed by the operator
the vehicle must have been authorized, allowed of record. It is even not necessary
and permitted by its actual owner to operate and to prove who the actual owner of
drive it. Thus, if the vehicle is driven without the the vehicle and the employer of the
knowledge and consent of the actual owner, then driver is. Granting that, in this
the registered owner cannot be held liable for case, the father of the driver is the
damages. actual owner and that he is the
actual employer, following the
He further argues that this was the underlying well-settled principle that the
theory behind Duavit vs. CA10 wherein the court operator of record continues to be
absolved the registered owner from liability after the operator of the vehicle in
finding that the vehicle was virtually stolen from the contemplation of law, as regards
owner’s garage by a person who was neither the public and third person, and as
authorized nor employed by the owner. Petitioner such is responsible for the
concludes that the ruling in Duavit and not the one consequences incident to its
in First Malayan should be applicable to him. operation, we must hold and
consider such owner-operator of
Petitioner’s argument lacks merit. Whether the record as the employer, in
driver is authorized or not by the actual owner is contemplation of law, of the driver.
irrelevant to determining the liability of the And, to give effect to this policy of
registered owner who the law holds primarily and law as enunciated in the above
directly responsible for any accident, injury or cited decisions of this Court, we
death caused by the operation of the vehicle in the must now extend the same and
streets and highways. To require the driver of the consider the actual operator and
vehicle to be authorized by the actual owner employer as the agent of the
before the registered owner can be held operator of record.’11
accountable is to defeat the very purpose why
motor vehicle legislations are enacted in the first Contrary to petitioner’s position, the First
place. Malayan ruling is applicable to him since the case
involves the same set of facts ― the registered owner
Furthermore, there is nothing in First had previously sold the vehicle to someone else and
was being driven by an employee of the new (actual)
Malayan which even remotely suggests that the
owner. Duavit is inapplicable since the vehicle there
driver must be authorized before the registered
was not transferred to another; the registered and the
owner can be held accountable. In First Malayan, actual owner was one and the same person.
the registered owner, First Malayan Corporation, Besides, in Duavit, the defense of the registered
was held liable for damages arising from the owner, Gilberto Duavit, was that the vehicle was

64
practically stolen from his garage by Oscar Sabiano, registration requirement under the motor vehicle
as affirmed by the latter: law.

Defendant Sabiano, in his testimony, WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED.


categorically admitted that he took the jeep The January 26, 2000 decision of the Court of
from the garage of defendant Duavit Appeals is AFFIRMED.
without the consent and authority of the
latter. He testified further that Duavit even SO ORDERED.
filed charges against him for the theft of the
jeep but which Duavit did not push through Panganiban, Sandoval-Gutierrez, and Carpio
as his (Sabiano’s) parents apologized to Morales*, JJ., concur.
Duavit on his behalf.12

As correctly pointed out by the CA,


the Duavit ruling is not applicable to petitioner’s Republic of the Philippines
case since the circumstance of unauthorized use SUPREME COURT
was not present. He in fact voluntarily delivered his Manila
car to Albert Jaucian as part of the downpayment
for a vehicle he purchased from Jaucian. Thus, he FIRST DIVISION
could not claim that the vehicle was stolen from
him since he voluntarily ceded possession thereof G.R. No. L-25172 May 24, 1974
to Jaucian. It was the latter, as the new (actual)
owner, who could have raised the defense of theft LUIS MA. ARANETA, petitioner,
to prove that he was not liable for the acts of his vs.
employee Ocfemia. Thus, there is no reason to ANTONIO R. DE JOYA, respondent.
apply the Duavit ruling to this case.
Araneta, Mendoza & Papa for petitioner.
The ruling in First Malayan has been reiterated
in BA Finance Corporation vs. CA13 and more Jose F. Espinosa for respondent.
recently in Aguilar, Sr. vs. Commercial Savings
Bank.14 In BA Finance, we held the registered CASTRO, J.:p
owner liable even if, at the time of the accident, the
vehicle was leased by another party and was
driven by the lessee’s employee. In Aguilar, the Petition for review of the decision of the Court of
registered owner-bank answered for damages for Appeals in CA-G.R. 34277-R ordering Luis Ma.
the accident even if the vehicle was being driven Araneta (hereinafter referred to as the petitioner)
by the Vice-President of the Bank in his private to indemnify Antonio R. de Joya (hereinafter
capacity and not as an officer of the Bank, as referred to as the respondent) for one-third of the
claimed by the Bank. We find no reason to deviate sum of P5,043.20 which the latter was adjudged to
from these decisions. pay the Ace Advertising Agency, Inc., the plaintiff
in the recovery suit below.
The main purpose of vehicle registration is the
easy identification of the owner who can be held Sometime in November 1952 the respondent, then
responsible for any accident, damage or injury general manager of the Ace Advertising, proposed
caused by the vehicle. Easy identification prevents to the board of directors1 that an employee,
inconvenience and prejudice to a third party Ricardo Taylor, be sent to the United States to take
injured by one who is unknown or unidentified. To up special studies in television. The board,
allow a registered owner to escape liability by however, failed to act on the proposal.
claiming that the driver was not authorized by the Nevertheless, in September 1953 the respondent
new (actual) owner results in the public detriment sent Taylor abroad. J. Antonio Araneta, a
the law seeks to avoid. company director, inquired about the trip and was
assured by the respondent that Taylor's expenses
would be defrayed not by the company but by
Finally, the issue of whether or not the driver of the other parties. This was thereafter confirmed by the
vehicle during the accident was authorized is not respondent in a memorandum.
at all relevant to determining the liability of the
registered owner. This must be so if we are to
comply with the rationale and principle behind the While abroad, from September 1, 1953 to March
15, 1954, Taylor continued to receive his salaries.
The items corresponding to his salaries appeared

65
in vouchers prepared upon the orders of, and petitioner as well as Vicente Araneta is hereunder
approved by, the respondent and were included in quoted:
the semi-monthly payroll checks for the employees
of the corporation. The petitioner signed three of The evidence not only is clear, but is
these checks on November 27, December 15 and even not disputed at all by Vicente and
December 29, 1953. The others were signed by Luis Araneta who neither of them took the
either the respondent, or Vicente Araneta witness stand to refute appellant's
(company treasurer) who put up part of the bill evidence, that as to Vicente it was to him
connected with Taylor's trip and also handed him that appellant first broached the subject-
letters for delivery in the United States. The Ace matter of sending Taylor to America, that
Advertising disbursed P5,043.20, all told, on Vicente Araneta evinced unusual interest,
account of Taylor's travel and studies. and went to the extent of entrusting Taylor
with letters for delivery to certain principals
On August 23, 1954 the Ace Advertising filed a of Gregorio Araneta, Inc. in the United
complaint with the court of first instance of Manila States, and he even signed the check for
against the respondent for recovery of the total P105.20 to cover expenses for his tax
sum disbursed to Taylor, alleging that the trip was clearance, documentary stamps and
made without its knowledge, authority or passport fees, in connection with the trip,
ratification. The respondent, in his answer, denied on 8 September, 1953, and then on 5
the charge and claimed that the trip was October, 1953, still another check for
nonetheless ratified by the company's board of P868.00 which was half the amount for his
directors, and that in any event under the by-laws plane ticket; and as to Luis Araneta, it not
he had the discretion, as general manager, to at all being disputed that when Taylor was
authorize the trip which was for the company's already in America, his salaries while
benefit.. abroad were paid on vouchers and checks
signed either by him or by Vicente, or by
A 3rd-party complaint was also filed by the appellant himself; because of all these, the
respondent against Vicente Araneta, the petitioner conclusion is forced upon this Court that it
and Ricardo Taylor. The respondent proved that could not but have been but that both
Vicente Araneta, as treasurer of the firm, signed a Vicente and Luis were informed and gave
check representing the company's share of the their approval to Taylor's trip, and to the
transportation expense of Taylor to the United payment of his trip expenses and salaries
States, and that a series of payroll checks from during his absence, from corporate funds;
September 15, 1953 to December 31, 1953, if this was the case as it was, there can be
inclusive, which included the salaries of Taylor, no question but that they two were also
was signed by Vicente Araneta and the petitioner privy to the unauthorized disbursement of
who is a vice-president of the company. Both the corporate moneys jointly with the
Aranetas disowned any personal liability, claiming appellant; what had happened was in truth
that they signed the checks in good faith as they and in fact a venture by them given their
were approved by the respondent.. stamp of approval; and as it was an
unauthorized act of expenditure of
On April 13, 1964 the trial court rendered judgment corporate funds, and it was these three
ordering the respondent to pay the Ace Advertising without whose acts the same could not
"the sum of P5,043.20 with interest at the legal rate have happened, the juridical situation was
from August 23, 1954 until full payment," and a simple quasi-delict by them committed
dismissing the 3rd-party complaint. upon the corporation, for which solidary
liability should have been imposed upon all
in the first place, Art. 2194, New Civil
The respondent appealed to the Court of Appeals,
Code; and only De Joya having been sued
which on August 2, 1965, rendered a decision
and made liable by the corporation, it was
affirming the trial court's judgment in favor of the
the right of the latter to ask that his two joint
Ace Advertising but reversing the dismissal of the
tortfeasors be made to shoulder their
3rd-party complaint. The appellate court found as
proportional responsibility. (emphasis
a fact that Taylor's trip had been neither authorized
supplied)
nor ratified by the company.
The basic legal issue is whether the petitioner is
The appellate court's full statement of its
guilty of a quasi-delict as held below.
categorical and unequivocal findings of fact on the
nature and extent of the participation of the

66
It is our view, and we so hold, that the judgment of The occurrence which gave rise to the institution
the Court of Appeals should be upheld. The of this action took place on December 12, 1912, on
petitioner's assertion that he signed the the Carlatan Bridge, at San Fernando, La Union. It
questioned payroll checks in good faith has not appears that upon the occasion in question the
been substantiated, he in particular not having plaintiff was riding on his pony over said bridge.
testified or offered testimony to prove such claim. Before he had gotten half way across, the
Upon the contrary, in spite of his being a vice- defendant approached from the opposite direction
president and director of the Ace Advertising, the in an automobile, going at the rate of about ten or
petitioner remained passive, throughout the period twelve miles per hour. As the defendant neared the
of Taylor's stay abroad, concerning the bridge he saw a horseman on it and blew his horn
unauthorized disbursements of corporate funds for to give warning of his approach. He continued his
the latter. This plus the fact that he even approved course and after he had taken the bridge he gave
thrice payroll checks for the payment of Taylor's two more successive blasts, as it appeared to him
salary, demonstrate quite distinctly that the that the man on horseback before him was not
petitioner neglected to perform his duties properly, observing the rule of the road.
to the damage of the firm of which he was an
officer. The fact that he was occupying a The plaintiff, it appears, saw the automobile
contractual position at the Ace Advertising is of no coming and heard the warning signals. However,
moment. The existence of a contract between the being perturbed by the novelty of the apparition or
parties, as has been repeatedly held by this Court, the rapidity of the approach, he pulled the pony
constitutes no bar to the commission of a tort by closely up against the railing on the right side of
one against the other and the consequent the bridge instead of going to the left. He says that
recovery of damages.2 the reason he did this was that he thought he did
not have sufficient time to get over to the other
ACCORDINGLY, the judgment of the Court of side. The bridge is shown to have a length of about
Appeals is affirmed, at petitioner's cost. 75 meters and a width of 4.80 meters. As the
automobile approached, the defendant guided it
Makalintal, C.J., Makasiar, Esguerra and Muñoz toward his left, that being the proper side of the
Palma, JJ., concur. road for the machine. In so doing the defendant
assumed that the horseman would move to the
Teehankee, J., took no part. other side. The pony had not as yet exhibited
fright, and the rider had made no sign for the
automobile to stop. Seeing that the pony was
apparently quiet, the defendant, instead of veering
Republic of the Philippines to the right while yet some distance away or
SUPREME COURT slowing down, continued to approach directly
Manila toward the horse without diminution of speed.
When he had gotten quite near, there being then
EN BANC no possibility of the horse getting across to the
other side, the defendant quickly turned his car
G.R. No. L-12219 March 15, 1918 sufficiently to the right to escape hitting the horse
alongside of the railing where it as then standing;
AMADO PICART, plaintiff-appellant, but in so doing the automobile passed in such
vs. close proximity to the animal that it became
FRANK SMITH, JR., defendant-appellee. frightened and turned its body across the bridge
with its head toward the railing. In so doing, it as
Alejo Mabanag for appellant. struck on the hock of the left hind leg by the flange
G. E. Campbell for appellee. of the car and the limb was broken. The horse fell
and its rider was thrown off with some violence.
From the evidence adduced in the case we believe
STREET, J.:
that when the accident occurred the free space
where the pony stood between the automobile and
In this action the plaintiff, Amado Picart, seeks to the railing of the bridge was probably less than one
recover of the defendant, Frank Smith, jr., the sum and one half meters. As a result of its injuries the
of P31,000, as damages alleged to have been horse died. The plaintiff received contusions which
caused by an automobile driven by the defendant. caused temporary unconsciousness and required
From a judgment of the Court of First Instance of medical attention for several days.
the Province of La Union absolving the defendant
from liability the plaintiff has appealed.

67
The question presented for decision is whether or conduct by the circumstances which are before
not the defendant in maneuvering his car in the them or known to them. They are not, and are not
manner above described was guilty of negligence supposed to be, omniscient of the future. Hence
such as gives rise to a civil obligation to repair the they can be expected to take care only when there
damage done; and we are of the opinion that he is is something before them to suggest or warn of
so liable. As the defendant started across the danger. Could a prudent man, in the case under
bridge, he had the right to assume that the horse consideration, foresee harm as a result of the
and the rider would pass over to the proper side; course actually pursued? If so, it was the duty of
but as he moved toward the center of the bridge it the actor to take precautions to guard against that
was demonstrated to his eyes that this would not harm. Reasonable foresight of harm, followed by
be done; and he must in a moment have perceived ignoring of the suggestion born of this prevision, is
that it was too late for the horse to cross with safety always necessary before negligence can be held
in front of the moving vehicle. In the nature of to exist. Stated in these terms, the proper criterion
things this change of situation occurred while the for determining the existence of negligence in a
automobile was yet some distance away; and from given case is this: Conduct is said to be negligent
this moment it was not longer within the power of when a prudent man in the position of the
the plaintiff to escape being run down by going to tortfeasor would have foreseen that an effect
a place of greater safety. The control of the harmful to another was sufficiently probable to
situation had then passed entirely to the warrant his foregoing conduct or guarding against
defendant; and it was his duty either to bring his its consequences.
car to an immediate stop or, seeing that there were
no other persons on the bridge, to take the other Applying this test to the conduct of the defendant
side and pass sufficiently far away from the horse in the present case we think that negligence is
to avoid the danger of collision. Instead of doing clearly established. A prudent man, placed in the
this, the defendant ran straight on until he was position of the defendant, would in our opinion,
almost upon the horse. He was, we think, deceived have recognized that the course which he was
into doing this by the fact that the horse had not pursuing was fraught with risk, and would
yet exhibited fright. But in view of the known nature therefore have foreseen harm to the horse and the
of horses, there was an appreciable risk that, if the rider as reasonable consequence of that course.
animal in question was unacquainted with Under these circumstances the law imposed on
automobiles, he might get exited and jump under the defendant the duty to guard against the
the conditions which here confronted him. When threatened harm.
the defendant exposed the horse and rider to this
danger he was, in our opinion, negligent in the eye It goes without saying that the plaintiff himself was
of the law. not free from fault, for he was guilty of antecedent
negligence in planting himself on the wrong side of
The test by which to determine the existence of the road. But as we have already stated, the
negligence in a particular case may be stated as defendant was also negligent; and in such case
follows: Did the defendant in doing the alleged the problem always is to discover which agent is
negligent act use that person would have used in immediately and directly responsible. It will be
the same situation? If not, then he is guilty of noted that the negligent acts of the two parties
negligence. The law here in effect adopts the were not contemporaneous, since the negligence
standard supposed to be supplied by the of the defendant succeeded the negligence of the
imaginary conduct of the discreet paterfamilias of plaintiff by an appreciable interval. Under these
the Roman law. The existence of negligence in a circumstances the law is that the person who has
given case is not determined by reference to the the last fair chance to avoid the impending harm
personal judgment of the actor in the situation and fails to do so is chargeable with the
before him. The law considers what would be consequences, without reference to the prior
reckless, blameworthy, or negligent in the man of negligence of the other party.
ordinary intelligence and prudence and
determines liability by that. The decision in the case of Rkes vs. Atlantic, Gulf
and Pacific Co. (7 Phil. Rep., 359) should perhaps
The question as to what would constitute the be mentioned in this connection. This Court there
conduct of a prudent man in a given situation must held that while contributory negligence on the part
of course be always determined in the light of of the person injured did not constitute a bar to
human experience and in view of the facts involved recovery, it could be received in evidence to
in the particular case. Abstract speculations reduce the damages which would otherwise have
cannot here be of much value but this much can been assessed wholly against the other party. The
be profitably said: Reasonable men govern their defendant company had there employed the

68
plaintiff, as a laborer, to assist in transporting iron (See U. S. vs. Banzuela and Banzuela, 31 Phil.
rails from a barge in Manila harbor to the Rep., 564.)
company's yards located not far away. The rails
were conveyed upon cars which were hauled From what has been said it results that the
along a narrow track. At certain spot near the judgment of the lower court must be reversed, and
water's edge the track gave way by reason of the judgment is her rendered that the plaintiff recover
combined effect of the weight of the car and the of the defendant the sum of two hundred pesos
insecurity of the road bed. The car was in (P200), with costs of other instances. The sum
consequence upset; the rails slid off; and the here awarded is estimated to include the value of
plaintiff's leg was caught and broken. It appeared the horse, medical expenses of the plaintiff, the
in evidence that the accident was due to the effects loss or damage occasioned to articles of his
of the typhoon which had dislodged one of the apparel, and lawful interest on the whole to the
supports of the track. The court found that the date of this recovery. The other damages claimed
defendant company was negligent in having failed by the plaintiff are remote or otherwise of such
to repair the bed of the track and also that the character as not to be recoverable. So ordered.
plaintiff was, at the moment of the accident, guilty
of contributory negligence in walking at the side of Arellano, C.J., Torres, Carson, Araullo,
the car instead of being in front or behind. It was Avanceña, and Fisher, JJ., concur.
held that while the defendant was liable to the Johnson, J., reserves his vote.
plaintiff by reason of its negligence in having failed
to keep the track in proper repair nevertheless the
Separate Opinions
amount of the damages should be reduced on
account of the contributory negligence in the
plaintiff. As will be seen the defendant's MALCOLM, J., concurring:
negligence in that case consisted in an omission
only. The liability of the company arose from its After mature deliberation, I have finally decided to
responsibility for the dangerous condition of its concur with the judgment in this case. I do so
track. In a case like the one now before us, where because of my understanding of the "last clear
the defendant was actually present and operating chance" rule of the law of negligence as
the automobile which caused the damage, we do particularly applied to automobile accidents. This
not feel constrained to attempt to weigh the rule cannot be invoked where the negligence of the
negligence of the respective parties in order to plaintiff is concurrent with that of the defendant.
apportion the damage according to the degree of Again, if a traveler when he reaches the point of
their relative fault. It is enough to say that the collision is in a situation to extricate himself and
negligence of the defendant was in this case the avoid injury, his negligence at that point will
immediate and determining cause of the accident prevent a recovery. But Justice Street finds as a
and that the antecedent negligence of the plaintiff fact that the negligent act of the interval of time,
was a more remote factor in the case. and that at the moment the plaintiff had no
opportunity to avoid the accident. Consequently,
A point of minor importance in the case is indicated the "last clear chance" rule is applicable. In other
in the special defense pleaded in the defendant's words, when a traveler has reached a point where
answer, to the effect that the subject matter of the he cannot extricate himself and vigilance on his
action had been previously adjudicated in the court part will not avert the injury, his negligence in
of a justice of the peace. In this connection it reaching that position becomes the condition and
appears that soon after the accident in question not the proximate cause of the injury and will not
occurred, the plaintiff caused criminal proceedings preclude a recovery. (Note especially Aiken vs.
to be instituted before a justice of the peace Metcalf [1917], 102 Atl., 330.)
charging the defendant with the infliction of serious
injuries (lesiones graves). At the preliminary
investigation the defendant was discharged by the Republic of the Philippines
magistrate and the proceedings were dismissed. SUPREME COURT
Conceding that the acquittal of the defendant at Manila
the trial upon the merits in a criminal prosecution
for the offense mentioned would be res adjudicata EN BANC
upon the question of his civil liability arising from
negligence -- a point upon which it is unnecessary G.R. No. L-12986 March 31, 1966
to express an opinion -- the action of the justice of
the peace in dismissing the criminal proceeding
upon the preliminary hearing can have no effect.

69
THE SPOUSES BERNABE AFRICA and underground tank of the Caltex
SOLEDAD C. AFRICA, and the HEIRS OF Gasoline Station located at the
DOMINGA ONG, petitioners-appellants, corner of Rizal Avenue and
vs. Antipolo Street, this City, an
CALTEX (PHIL.), INC., MATEO BOQUIREN and unknown Filipino lighted a
THE COURT OF APPEALS, respondents- cigarette and threw the burning
appellees. match stick near the main valve of
the said underground tank. Due to
Ross, Selph, Carrascoso and Janda for the the gasoline fumes, fire suddenly
respondents. blazed. Quick action of Leandro
Bernabe Africa, etc. for the petitioners. Flores in pulling off the gasoline
hose connecting the truck with the
MAKALINTAL., J.: underground tank prevented a
terrific explosion. However, the
flames scattered due to the hose
This case is before us on a petition for review of
from which the gasoline was
the decision of the Court of Appeals, which
spouting. It burned the truck and
affirmed that of the Court of First Instance of
the following accessorias and
Manila dismissing petitioners' second amended
residences.
complaint against respondents.
2. The Fire Department report: —
The action is for damages under Articles 1902 and
1903 of the old Civil Code. It appears that in the
afternoon of March 18, 1948 a fire broke out at the In connection with their allegation that the
Caltex service station at the corner of Antipolo premises was (sic) subleased for the
street and Rizal Avenue, Manila. It started while installation of a coca-cola and cigarette
gasoline was being hosed from a tank truck into stand, the complainants furnished this
the underground storage, right at the opening of Office a copy of a photograph taken during
the receiving tank where the nozzle of the hose the fire and which is submitted herewith. it
was inserted. The fire spread to and burned appears in this picture that there are in the
several neighboring houses, including the premises a coca-cola cooler and a rack
personal properties and effects inside them. Their which according to information gathered in
owners, among them petitioners here, sued the neighborhood contained cigarettes
respondents Caltex (Phil.), Inc. and Mateo and matches, installed between the
Boquiren, the first as alleged owner of the station gasoline pumps and the underground
and the second as its agent in charge of operation. tanks.
Negligence on the part of both of them was
attributed as the cause of the fire. The report of Captain Tinio reproduced information
given by a certain Benito Morales regarding the
The trial court and the Court of Appeals found that history of the gasoline station and what the chief of
petitioners failed to prove negligence and that the fire department had told him on the same
respondents had exercised due care in the subject.
premises and with respect to the supervision of
their employees. The foregoing reports were ruled out as "double
hearsay" by the Court of Appeals and hence
The first question before Us refers to the inadmissible. This ruling is now assigned as error.
admissibility of certain reports on the fire prepared It is contended: first, that said reports were
by the Manila Police and Fire Departments and by admitted by the trial court without objection on the
a certain Captain Tinio of the Armed Forces of the part of respondents; secondly, that with respect to
Philippines. Portions of the first two reports are as the police report (Exhibit V-Africa) which appears
follows: signed by a Detective Zapanta allegedly "for
Salvador Capacillo," the latter was presented as
witness but respondents waived their right to
1. Police Department report: —
cross-examine him although they had the
opportunity to do so; and thirdly, that in any event
Investigation disclosed that at the said reports are admissible as an exception to
about 4:00 P.M. March 18, 1948, the hearsay rule under section 35 of Rule 123, now
while Leandro Flores was Rule 130.
transferring gasoline from a tank
truck, plate No. T-5292 into the

70
The first contention is not borne out by the record. information? As to some facts the sources thereof
The transcript of the hearing of September 17, are not even identified. Others are attributed to
1953 (pp. 167-170) shows that the reports in Leopoldo Medina, referred to as an employee at
question, when offered as evidence, were the gas station were the fire occurred; to Leandro
objected to by counsel for each of respondents on Flores, driver of the tank truck from which gasoline
the ground that they were hearsay and that they was being transferred at the time to the
were "irrelevant, immaterial and impertinent." underground tank of the station; and to respondent
Indeed, in the court's resolution only Exhibits J, K, Mateo Boquiren, who could not, according to
K-5 and X-6 were admitted without objection; the Exhibit V-Africa, give any reason as to the origin of
admission of the others, including the disputed the fire. To qualify their statements as "official
ones, carried no such explanation. information" acquired by the officers who prepared
the reports, the persons who made the statements
On the second point, although Detective Capacillo not only must have personal knowledge of the
did take the witness stand, he was not examined facts stated but must have the duty to give such
and he did not testify as to the facts mentioned in statements for record.1
his alleged report (signed by Detective Zapanta).
All he said was that he was one of those who The reports in question do not constitute an
investigated "the location of the fire and, if exception to the hearsay rule; the facts stated
possible, gather witnesses as to the occurrence, therein were not acquired by the reporting officers
and that he brought the report with him. There was through official information, not having been given
nothing, therefore, on which he need be cross- by the informants pursuant to any duty to do so.
examined; and the contents of the report, as to
which he did not testify, did not thereby become The next question is whether or not, without proof
competent evidence. And even if he had testified, as to the cause and origin of the fire, the doctrine
his testimony would still have been objectionable of res ipsa loquitur should apply so as to presume
as far as information gathered by him from third negligence on the part of appellees. Both the trial
persons was concerned. court and the appellate court refused to apply the
doctrine in the instant case on the grounds that "as
Petitioners maintain, however, that the reports in to (its) applicability ... in the Philippines, there
themselves, that is, without further testimonial seems to he nothing definite," and that while the
evidence on their contents, fall within the scope of rules do not prohibit its adoption in appropriate
section 35, Rule 123, which provides that "entries cases, "in the case at bar, however, we find no
in official records made in the performance of his practical use for such doctrine." The question
duty by a public officer of the Philippines, or by a deserves more than such summary dismissal. The
person in the performance of a duty specially doctrine has actually been applied in this
enjoined by law, are prima facie evidence of the jurisdiction, in the case of Espiritu vs. Philippine
facts therein stated." Power and Development Co. (CA-G.R. No. 3240-
R, September 20, 1949), wherein the decision of
There are three requisites for admissibility under the Court of Appeals was penned by Mr. Justice
the rule just mentioned: (a) that the entry was J.B.L. Reyes now a member of the Supreme
made by a public officer, or by another person Court.
specially enjoined by law to do so; (b) that it was
made by the public officer in the performance of The facts of that case are stated in the decision as
his duties, or by such other person in the follows:
performance of a duty specially enjoined by law;
and (c) that the public officer or other person had In the afternoon of May 5, 1946, while the
sufficient knowledge of the facts by him stated, plaintiff-appellee and other companions
which must have been acquired by him personally were loading grass between the
or through official information (Moran, Comments municipalities of Bay and Calauan, in the
on the Rules of Court, Vol. 3 [1957] p. 398). province of Laguna, with clear weather
and without any wind blowing, an electric
Of the three requisites just stated, only the last transmission wire, installed and
need be considered here. Obviously the material maintained by the defendant Philippine
facts recited in the reports as to the cause and Power and Development Co., Inc.
circumstances of the fire were not within the alongside the road, suddenly parted, and
personal knowledge of the officers who conducted one of the broken ends hit the head of the
the investigation. Was knowledge of such facts, plaintiff as he was about to board the truck.
however, acquired by them through official As a result, plaintiff received the full shock

71
of 4,400 volts carried by the wire and was rule). Consequently, in the absence of
knocked unconscious to the ground. The contributory negligence (which is
electric charge coursed through his body admittedly not present), the fact that the
and caused extensive and serious multiple wire snapped suffices to raise a
burns from skull to legs, leaving the bone reasonable presumption of negligence in
exposed in some parts and causing its installation, care and maintenance.
intense pain and wounds that were not Thereafter, as observed by Chief Baron
completely healed when the case was Pollock, "if there are any facts inconsistent
tried on June 18, 1947, over one year after with negligence, it is for the defendant to
the mishap. prove."

The defendant therein disclaimed liability on the It is true of course that decisions of the Court of
ground that the plaintiff had failed to show any Appeals do not lay down doctrines binding on the
specific act of negligence, but the appellate court Supreme Court, but we do not consider this a
overruled the defense under the doctrine of res reason for not applying the particular doctrine
ipsa loquitur. The court said: of res ipsa loquitur in the case at bar. Gasoline is
a highly combustible material, in the storage and
The first point is directed against the sale of which extreme care must be taken. On the
sufficiency of plaintiff's evidence to place other hand, fire is not considered a fortuitous
appellant on its defense. While it is the event, as it arises almost invariably from some act
rule, as contended by the appellant, that in of man. A case strikingly similar to the one before
case of noncontractual negligence, Us is Jones vs. Shell Petroleum Corporation, et al.,
or culpa aquiliana, the burden of proof is 171 So. 447:
on the plaintiff to establish that the
proximate cause of his injury was the Arthur O. Jones is the owner of a building
negligence of the defendant, it is also a in the city of Hammon which in the year
recognized principal that "where the thing 1934 was leased to the Shell Petroleum
which caused injury, without fault of the Corporation for a gasoline filling station.
injured person, is under the exclusive On October 8, 1934, during the term of the
control of the defendant and the injury is lease, while gasoline was being
such as in the ordinary course of things transferred from the tank wagon, also
does not occur if he having such control operated by the Shell Petroleum
use proper care, it affords reasonable Corporation, to the underground tank of
evidence, in the absence of the the station, a fire started with resulting
explanation, that the injury arose from damages to the building owned by Jones.
defendant's want of care." Alleging that the damages to his building
amounted to $516.95, Jones sued the
And the burden of evidence is shifted to Shell Petroleum Corporation for the
him to establish that he has observed due recovery of that amount. The judge of the
care and diligence. (San Juan Light & district court, after hearing the testimony,
Transit Co. v. Requena, 244, U.S. 89, 56 concluded that plaintiff was entitled to a
L. ed. 680.) This rule is known by the name recovery and rendered judgment in his
of res ipsa loquitur (the transaction speaks favor for $427.82. The Court of Appeals for
for itself), and is peculiarly applicable to the the First Circuit reversed this judgment, on
case at bar, where it is unquestioned that the ground the testimony failed to show
the plaintiff had every right to be on the with reasonable certainty any negligence
highway, and the electric wire was under on the part of the Shell Petroleum
the sole control of defendant company. In Corporation or any of its agents or
the ordinary course of events, electric employees. Plaintiff applied to this Court
wires do not part suddenly in fair weather for a Writ of Review which was granted,
and injure people, unless they are and the case is now before us for
subjected to unusual strain and stress or decision.1äwphï1.ñët

there are defects in their installation,


maintenance and supervision; just as In resolving the issue of negligence, the Supreme
barrels do not ordinarily roll out of the Court of Louisiana held:
warehouse windows to injure passersby,
unless some one was negligent. (Byrne v. Plaintiff's petition contains two distinct
Boadle, 2 H & Co. 722; 159 Eng. Reprint charges of negligence — one relating to
299, the leading case that established that

72
the cause of the fire and the other relating 38 So. 892; Bents v. Page, 115 La. 560, 39
to the spreading of the gasoline about the So. 599.
filling station.
The principle enunciated in the aforequoted case
Other than an expert to assess the applies with equal force here. The gasoline station,
damages caused plaintiff's building by the with all its appliances, equipment and employees,
fire, no witnesses were placed on the was under the control of appellees. A fire occurred
stand by the defendant. therein and spread to and burned the neighboring
houses. The persons who knew or could have
Taking up plaintiff's charge of negligence known how the fire started were appellees and
relating to the cause of the fire, we find it their employees, but they gave no explanation
established by the record that the filling thereof whatsoever. It is a fair and reasonable
station and the tank truck were under the inference that the incident happened because of
control of the defendant and operated by want of care.
its agents or employees. We further find
from the uncontradicted testimony of In the report submitted by Captain Leoncio
plaintiff's witnesses that fire started in the Mariano of the Manila Police Department (Exh. X-
underground tank attached to the filling 1 Africa) the following appears:
station while it was being filled from the
tank truck and while both the tank and the Investigation of the basic complaint
truck were in charge of and being operated disclosed that the Caltex Gasoline Station
by the agents or employees of the complained of occupies a lot
defendant, extended to the hose and tank approximately 10 m x 10 m at the
truck, and was communicated from the southwest corner of Rizal Avenue and
burning hose, tank truck, and escaping Antipolo. The location is within a very busy
gasoline to the building owned by the business district near the Obrero Market, a
plaintiff. railroad crossing and very thickly
populated neighborhood where a great
Predicated on these circumstances and number of people mill around t
the further circumstance of defendant's
failure to explain the cause of the fire or to until
show its lack of knowledge of the cause,
plaintiff has evoked the doctrine of res ipsa gasoline
loquitur. There are many cases in which
the doctrine may be successfully invoked
tever be theWactjvities of these peopleor
and this, we think, is one of them.
lighting a cigarette cannot be excluded and
this constitute a secondary hazard to its
Where the thing which caused the injury operation which in turn endangers the
complained of is shown to be under the entire neighborhood to conflagration.
management of defendant or his servants
and the accident is such as in the ordinary
Furthermore, aside from precautions
course of things does not happen if those
already taken by its operator the concrete
who have its management or control use
walls south and west adjoining the
proper care, it affords reasonable
neighborhood are only 2-1/2 meters high
evidence, in absence of explanation by
at most and cannot avoid the flames from
defendant, that the accident arose from
leaping over it in case of fire.
want of care. (45 C.J. #768, p. 1193).
Records show that there have been two
This statement of the rule of res ipsa
cases of fire which caused not only
loquitur has been widely approved and
material damages but desperation and
adopted by the courts of last resort. Some
also panic in the neighborhood.
of the cases in this jurisdiction in which the
doctrine has been applied are the
following, viz.: Maus v. Broderick, 51 La. Although the soft drinks stand had been
Ann. 1153, 25 So. 977; Hebert v. Lake eliminated, this gasoline service station is
Charles Ice, etc., Co., 111 La. 522, 35 So. also used by its operator as a garage and
731, 64 L.R.A. 101, 100 Am. St. Rep. 505; repair shop for his fleet of taxicabs
Willis v. Vicksburg, etc., R. Co., 115 La. 63, numbering ten or more, adding another
risk to the possible outbreak of fire at this

73
already small but crowded gasoline present case, states the rule which we find
station. acceptable here. "It is the rule that those who
distribute a dangerous article or agent, owe a
The foregoing report, having been submitted by a degree of protection to the public proportionate to
police officer in the performance of his duties on and commensurate with a danger involved ... we
the basis of his own personal observation of the think it is the generally accepted rule as applied to
facts reported, may properly be considered as an torts that 'if the effects of the actor's negligent
exception to the hearsay rule. These facts, conduct actively and continuously operate to bring
descriptive of the location and objective about harm to another, the fact that the active and
circumstances surrounding the operation of the substantially simultaneous operation of the effects
gasoline station in question, strengthen the of a third person's innocent, tortious or criminal act
presumption of negligence under the doctrine of is also a substantial factor in bringing about the
res ipsa loquitur, since on their face they called for harm, does not protect the actor from liability.'
more stringent measures of caution than those (Restatement of the Law of Torts, vol. 2, p. 1184,
which would satisfy the standard of due diligence #439). Stated in another way, "The intention of an
under ordinary circumstances. There is no more unforeseen and unexpected cause, is not
eloquent demonstration of this than the statement sufficient to relieve a wrongdoer from
of Leandro Flores before the police investigator. consequences of negligence, if such negligence
Flores was the driver of the gasoline tank wagon directly and proximately cooperates with the
who, alone and without assistance, was independent cause in the resulting injury."
transferring the contents thereof into the (MacAfee, et al. vs. Traver's Gas Corporation, 153
underground storage when the fire broke out. He S.W. 2nd 442.)
said: "Before loading the underground tank there
were no people, but while the loading was going The next issue is whether Caltex should be held
on, there were people who went to drink coca-cola liable for the damages caused to appellants. This
(at the coca-cola stand) which is about a meter issue depends on whether Boquiren was an
from the hole leading to the underground tank." He independent contractor, as held by the Court of
added that when the tank was almost filled he went Appeals, or an agent of Caltex. This question, in
to the tank truck to close the valve, and while he the light of the facts not controverted, is one of law
had his back turned to the "manhole" he, heard and hence may be passed upon by this Court.
someone shout "fire." These facts are: (1) Boquiren made an admission
that he was an agent of Caltex; (2) at the time of
Even then the fire possibly would not have spread the fire Caltex owned the gasoline station and all
to the neighboring houses were it not for another the equipment therein; (3) Caltex exercised control
negligent omission on the part of defendants, over Boquiren in the management of the state; (4)
namely, their failure to provide a concrete wall high the delivery truck used in delivering gasoline to the
enough to prevent the flames from leaping over it. station had the name of CALTEX painted on it; and
As it was the concrete wall was only 2-1/2 meters (5) the license to store gasoline at the station was
high, and beyond that height it consisted merely of in the name of Caltex, which paid the license fees.
galvanized iron sheets, which would predictably (Exhibit T-Africa; Exhibit U-Africa; Exhibit X-5
crumple and melt when subjected to intense heat. Africa; Exhibit X-6 Africa; Exhibit Y-Africa).
Defendants' negligence, therefore, was not only
with respect to the cause of the fire but also with In Boquiren's amended answer to the second
respect to the spread thereof to the neighboring amended complaint, he denied that he directed
houses. one of his drivers to remove gasoline from the
truck into the tank and alleged that the "alleged
There is an admission on the part of Boquiren in driver, if one there was, was not in his employ, the
his amended answer to the second amended driver being an employee of the Caltex (Phil.) Inc.
complaint that "the fire was caused through the and/or the owners of the gasoline station." It is true
acts of a stranger who, without authority, or that Boquiren later on amended his answer, and
permission of answering defendant, passed that among the changes was one to the effect that
through the gasoline station and negligently threw he was not acting as agent of Caltex. But then
a lighted match in the premises." No evidence on again, in his motion to dismiss appellants' second
this point was adduced, but assuming the amended complaint the ground alleged was that it
allegation to be true — certainly any unfavorable stated no cause of action since under the
inference from the admission may be taken allegations thereof he was merely acting as agent
against Boquiren — it does not extenuate his of Caltex, such that he could not have incurred
negligence. A decision of the Supreme Court of personal liability. A motion to dismiss on this
Texas, upon facts analogous to those of the

74
ground is deemed to be an admission of the facts sold only the products of the company; that
alleged in the complaint. the equipment used by the operator
belonged to the company and were just
Caltex admits that it owned the gasoline station as loaned to the operator and the company
well as the equipment therein, but claims that the took charge of their repair and
business conducted at the service station in maintenance; that an employee of the
question was owned and operated by Boquiren. company supervised the operator and
But Caltex did not present any contract with conducted periodic inspection of the
Boquiren that would reveal the nature of their company's gasoline and service station;
relationship at the time of the fire. There must have that the price of the products sold by the
been one in existence at that time. Instead, what operator was fixed by the company and not
was presented was a license agreement by the operator; and that the receipts
manifestly tailored for purposes of this case, since signed by the operator indicated that he
it was entered into shortly before the expiration of was a mere agent, the finding of the Court
the one-year period it was intended to operate. of Appeals that the operator was an agent
This so-called license agreement (Exhibit 5- of the company and not an independent
Caltex) was executed on November 29, 1948, but contractor should not be disturbed.
made effective as of January 1, 1948 so as to
cover the date of the fire, namely, March 18, 1948. To determine the nature of a contract
This retroactivity provision is quite significant, and courts do not have or are not bound to rely
gives rise to the conclusion that it was designed upon the name or title given it by the
precisely to free Caltex from any responsibility with contracting parties, should thereby a
respect to the fire, as shown by the clause that controversy as to what they really had
Caltex "shall not be liable for any injury to person intended to enter into, but the way the
or property while in the property herein licensed, it contracting parties do or perform their
being understood and agreed that LICENSEE respective obligations stipulated or agreed
(Boquiren) is not an employee, representative or upon may be shown and inquired into, and
agent of LICENSOR (Caltex)." should such performance conflict with the
name or title given the contract by the
But even if the license agreement were to govern, parties, the former must prevail over the
Boquiren can hardly be considered an latter. (Shell Company of the Philippines,
independent contractor. Under that agreement Ltd. vs. Firemens' Insurance Company of
Boquiren would pay Caltex the purely nominal sum Newark, New Jersey, 100 Phil. 757).
of P1.00 for the use of the premises and all the
equipment therein. He could sell only Caltex The written contract was apparently drawn
Products. Maintenance of the station and its for the purpose of creating the apparent
equipment was subject to the approval, in other relationship of employer and independent
words control, of Caltex. Boquiren could not assign contractor, and of avoiding liability for the
or transfer his rights as licensee without the negligence of the employees about the
consent of Caltex. The license agreement was station; but the company was not satisfied
supposed to be from January 1, 1948 to December to allow such relationship to exist. The
31, 1948, and thereafter until terminated by Caltex evidence shows that it immediately
upon two days prior written notice. Caltex could at assumed control, and proceeded to direct
any time cancel and terminate the agreement in the method by which the work contracted
case Boquiren ceased to sell Caltex products, or for should be performed. By reserving the
did not conduct the business with due diligence, in right to terminate the contract at will, it
the judgment of Caltex. Termination of the contract retained the means of compelling
was therefore a right granted only to Caltex but not submission to its orders. Having elected to
to Boquiren. These provisions of the contract show assume control and to direct the means
the extent of the control of Caltex over Boquiren. and methods by which the work has to be
The control was such that the latter was virtually performed, it must be held liable for the
an employee of the former. negligence of those performing service
under its direction. We think the evidence
Taking into consideration the fact that the was sufficient to sustain the verdict of the
operator owed his position to the company jury. (Gulf Refining Company v. Rogers,
and the latter could remove him or 57 S.W. 2d, 183).
terminate his services at will; that the
service station belonged to the company Caltex further argues that the gasoline stored in
and bore its tradename and the operator the station belonged to Boquiren. But no cash

75
invoices were presented to show that Boquiren Lino M. Patajo, Francisco Ma. Chanco, Ananiano
had bought said gasoline from Caltex. Neither was Desierto and Segundo Mangohig for private
there a sales contract to prove the same. respondent.

As found by the trial court the Africas sustained a


loss of P9,005.80, after deducting the amount of
P2,000.00 collected by them on the insurance of BIDIN, J.:
the house. The deduction is now challenged as
erroneous on the ground that Article 2207 of the This petition assails the decision of respondent
New Civil Code, which provides for the Court of Appeals in
subrogation of the insurer to the rights of the CA-GR CV No. 14948 entitled "Eugenio S. Baltao,
insured, was not yet in effect when the loss took plaintiff-appellee vs. Albenson Enterprises
place. However, regardless of the silence of the Corporation, et al, defendants-appellants", which
law on this point at that time, the amount that modified the judgment of the Regional Trial Court
should be recovered be measured by the of Quezon City, Branch XCVIII in Civil Case No. Q-
damages actually suffered, otherwise the principle 40920 and ordered petitioner to pay private
prohibiting unjust enrichment would be violated. respondent, among others, the sum of
With respect to the claim of the heirs of Ong P500,000.00 as moral damages and attorney's
P7,500.00 was adjudged by the lower court on the fees in the amount of P50,000.00.
basis of the assessed value of the property
destroyed, namely, P1,500.00, disregarding the The facts are not disputed.
testimony of one of the Ong children that said
property was worth P4,000.00. We agree that the In September, October, and November 1980,
court erred, since it is of common knowledge that petitioner Albenson Enterprises Corporation
the assessment for taxation purposes is not an (Albenson for short) delivered to Guaranteed
accurate gauge of fair market value, and in this Industries, Inc. (Guaranteed for short) located at
case should not prevail over positive evidence of 3267 V. Mapa Street, Sta. Mesa, Manila, the mild
such value. The heirs of Ong are therefore entitled steel plates which the latter ordered. As part
to P10,000.00. payment thereof, Albenson was given Pacific
Banking Corporation Check No. 136361 in the
Wherefore, the decision appealed from is reversed amount of P2,575.00 and drawn against the
and respondents-appellees are held liable account of E.L. Woodworks (Rollo, p. 148).
solidarily to appellants, and ordered to pay them
the aforesaid sum of P9,005.80 and P10,000.00, When presented for payment, the check was
respectively, with interest from the filing of the dishonored for the reason "Account Closed."
complaint, and costs. Thereafter, petitioner Albenson, through counsel,
traced the origin of the dishonored check. From the
Bengzon, C.J., Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, records of the Securities and Exchange
Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Regala, Bengzon, J.P., Commission (SEC), Albenson discovered that the
Zaldivar and Sanchez, JJ., concur. president of Guaranteed, the recipient of the
Dizon, J., took no part. unpaid mild steel plates, was one "Eugenio S.
Baltao." Upon further inquiry, Albenson was
informed by the Ministry of Trade and Industry that
Republic of the Philippines E.L. Woodworks, a single proprietorship business,
SUPREME COURT was registered in the name of one "Eugenio
Manila Baltao". In addition, upon verification with the
drawee bank, Pacific Banking Corporation,
THIRD DIVISION Albenson was advised that the signature
appearing on the subject check belonged to one
"Eugenio Baltao."
G.R. No. 88694 January 11, 1993
After obtaining the foregoing information,
ALBENSON ENTERPRISES CORP., JESSE
Albenson, through counsel, made an extrajudicial
YAP, AND BENJAMIN MENDIONA, petitioners,
demand upon private respondent Eugenio S.
vs.
Baltao, president of Guaranteed, to replace and/or
THE COURT OF APPEALS AND EUGENIO S.
make good the dishonored check.
BALTAO, respondents.

Puruganan, Chato, Chato & Tan for petitioners.

76
Respondent Baltao, through counsel, denied that complaint against him and of the requirement to
he issued the check, or that the signature submit his counter evidence.
appearing thereon is his. He further alleged that
Guaranteed was a defunct entity and hence, could Because of the alleged unjust filing of a criminal
not have transacted business with Albenson. case against him for allegedly issuing a check
which bounced in violation of Batas Pambansa
On February 14, 1983, Albenson filed with the Bilang 22 for a measly amount of P2,575.00,
Office of the Provincial Fiscal of Rizal a complaint respondent Baltao filed before the Regional Trial
against Eugenio S. Baltao for violation of Batas Court of Quezon City a complaint for damages
Pambansa Bilang 22. Submitted to support said against herein petitioners Albenson Enterprises,
charges was an affidavit of petitioner Benjamin Jesse Yap, its owner, and Benjamin Mendiona, its
Mendiona, an employee of Albenson. In said employee.
affidavit, the above-mentioned circumstances
were stated. In its decision, the lower court observed that "the
check is drawn against the account of "E.L.
It appears, however, that private respondent has a Woodworks," not of Guaranteed Industries of
namesake, his son Eugenio Baltao III, who which plaintiff used to be President. Guaranteed
manages a business establishment, E.L. Industries had been inactive and had ceased to
Woodworks, on the ground floor of the Baltao exist as a corporation since 1975. . . . . The
Building, 3267 V. Mapa Street, Sta. Mesa, Manila, possibility is that it was with Gene Baltao or
the very same business address of Guaranteed. Eugenio Baltao III, a son of plaintiff who had a
business on the ground floor of Baltao Building
On September 5, 1983, Assistant Fiscal Ricardo located on V. Mapa Street that the defendants may
Sumaway filed an information against Eugenio S. have been dealing with . . . ." (Rollo, pp. 41-42).
Baltao for Violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22.
In filing said information, Fiscal Sumaway claimed The dispositive portion of the trial court 's decision
that he had given Eugenio S. Baltao opportunity to reads:
submit controverting evidence, but the latter failed
to do so and therefore, was deemed to have WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby
waived his right. rendered in favor of plaintiff and against
defendants ordering the latter to pay
Respondent Baltao, claiming ignorance of the plaintiff jointly and severally:
complaint against him, immediately filed with the
Provincial Fiscal of Rizal a motion for 1. actual or compensatory damages of
reinvestigation, alleging that it was not true that he P133,350.00;
had been given an opportunity to be heard in the
preliminary investigation conducted by Fiscal 2. moral damages of P1,000,000.00 (1
Sumaway, and that he never had any dealings with million pesos);
Albenson or Benjamin Mendiona, consequently,
the check for which he has been accused of having
3. exemplary damages of P200,000.00;
issued without funds was not issued by him and
the signature in said check was not his.
4. attorney's fees of P100,000.00;
On January 30, 1984, Provincial Fiscal Mauro M.
Castro of Rizal reversed the finding of Fiscal 5 costs.
Sumaway and exonerated respondent Baltao. He
also instructed the Trial Fiscal to move for Defendants' counterclaim against plaintiff
dismissal of the information filed against Eugenio and claim for damages against Mercantile
S. Baltao. Fiscal Castro found that the signature in Insurance Co. on the bond for the issuance
PBC Check No. 136361 is not the signature of of the writ of attachment at the instance of
Eugenio S. Baltao. He also found that there is no plaintiff are hereby dismissed for lack of
showing in the records of the preliminary merit. (Rollo, pp. 38-39).
investigation that Eugenio S. Baltao actually
received notice of the said investigation. Fiscal On appeal, respondent court modified the trial
Castro then castigated Fiscal Sumaway for failing court's decision as follows:
to exercise care and prudence in the performance
of his duties, thereby causing injustice to WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from
respondent who was not properly notified of the is MODIFIED by reducing the moral

77
damages awarded therein from respondent's reputation or that it
P1,000,000.00 to P500,000.00 and the resulted to material loss.
attorney's fees from P100,000.00 to
P50,000.00, said decision being hereby 5.3. P200,000.00 as exemplary
affirmed in all its other aspects. With costs damages despite the fact that
against appellants. (Rollo, pp. 50-51) petitioners were duly advised by
counsel of their legal recourse.
Dissatisfied with the above ruling, petitioners
Albenson Enterprises Corp., Jesse Yap, and 5.4. P50,000.00 as attorney's fees, no
Benjamin Mendiona filed the instant Petition, evidence having been adduced to
alleging that the appellate court erred in: justify such an award (Rollo, pp. 4-6).

1. Concluding that private respondent's Petitioners contend that the civil case filed in the
cause of action is not one based on lower court was one for malicious prosecution.
malicious prosecution but one for abuse of Citing the case of Madera vs. Lopez (102 SCRA
rights under Article 21 of the Civil Code 700 [1981]), they assert that the absence of malice
notwithstanding the fact that the basis of a on their part absolves them from any liability for
civil action for malicious prosecution is malicious prosecution. Private respondent, on the
Article 2219 in relation to Article 21 or other hand, anchored his complaint for Damages
Article 2176 of the Civil Code . . . . on Articles 19, 20, and 21 ** of the Civil Code.

2. Concluding that "hitting at and in effect Article 19, known to contain what is commonly
maligning (private respondent) with an referred to as the principle of abuse of rights, sets
unjust criminal case was, without more, a certain standards which may be observed not only
plain case of abuse of rights by in the exercise of one's rights but also in the
misdirection" and "was therefore, performance of one's duties. These standards are
actionable by itself," and which "became the following: to act with justice; to give everyone
inordinately blatant and grossly his due; and to observe honesty and good faith.
aggravated when . . . (private respondent) The law, therefore, recognizes the primordial
was deprived of his basic right to notice limitation on all rights: that in their exercise, the
and a fair hearing in the so-called norms of human conduct set forth in Article 19
preliminary investigation . . . . " must be observed. A right, though by itself legal
because recognized or granted by law as such,
3. Concluding that petitioner's "actuations may nevertheless become the source of some
in this case were coldly deliberate and illegality. When a right is exercised in a manner
calculated", no evidence having been which does not conform with the norms enshrined
adduced to support such a sweeping in Article 19 and results in damage to another, a
statement. legal wrong is thereby committed for which the
wrongdoer must be held responsible. Although the
4. Holding the petitioner corporation, requirements of each provision is different, these
petitioner Yap and petitioner Mendiona three (3) articles are all related to each other. As
jointly and severally liable without the eminent Civilist Senator Arturo Tolentino puts
sufficient basis in law and in fact. it: "With this article (Article 21), combined with
articles 19 and 20, the scope of our law on civil
5. Awarding respondents — wrongs has been very greatly broadened; it has
become much more supple and adaptable than
the Anglo-American law on torts. It is now difficult
5.1. P133,350.00 as actual or
to conceive of any malevolent exercise of a right
compensatory damages, even in the
which could not be checked by the application of
absence of sufficient evidence to show
these articles" (Tolentino, 1 Civil Code of the
that such was actually suffered.
Philippines 72).
5.2. P500,000.00 as moral damages
There is however, no hard and fast rule which can
considering that the evidence in this
be applied to determine whether or not the
connection merely involved private
principle of abuse of rights may be invoked. The
respondent's alleged celebrated status
question of whether or not the principle of abuse of
as a businessman, there being no
rights has been violated, resulting in damages
showing that the act complained of
under Articles 20 and 21 or other applicable
adversely affected private

78
provision of law, depends on the circumstances of certain constraints. Beyond that limit is the
each case. (Globe Mackay Cable and Radio area of excess, of abuse of rights. (Rollo,
Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, 176 SCRA 778 pp.
[1989]). 44-45).

The elements of an abuse of right under Article 19 Assuming, arguendo, that all the three (3) articles,
are the following: (1) There is a legal right or duty; together and not independently of each one, could
(2) which is exercised in bad faith; (3) for the be validly made the bases for an award of
sole intent of prejudicing or injuring another. damages based on the principle of "abuse of right",
Article 20 speaks of the general sanction for all under the circumstances, We see no cogent
other provisions of law which do not especially reason for such an award of damages to be made
provide for their own sanction (Tolentino, supra, p. in favor of private respondent.
71). Thus, anyone who,
whether willfully or negligently, in the exercise of Certainly, petitioners could not be said to have
his legal right or duty, causes damage to another, violated the aforestated principle of abuse of right.
shall indemnify his victim for injuries suffered What prompted petitioners to file the case for
thereby. Article 21 deals with acts contra bonus violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 against
mores, and has the following elements: 1) There is private respondent was their failure to collect the
an act which is legal; 2) but which is contrary to amount of P2,575.00 due on a bounced check
morals, good custom, public order, or public policy; which they honestly believed was issued to them
3) and it is done with intent to injure. by private respondent. Petitioners had conducted
inquiries regarding the origin of the check, and
Thus, under any of these three (3) provisions of yielded the following results: from the records of
law, an act which causes injury to another may be the Securities and Exchange Commission, it was
made the basis for an award of damages. discovered that the President of Guaranteed (the
recipient of the unpaid mild steel plates), was one
There is a common element under Articles 19 and "Eugenio S. Baltao"; an inquiry with the Ministry of
21, and that is, the act must be intentional. Trade and Industry revealed that E.L. Woodworks,
However, Article 20 does not distinguish: the act against whose account the check was drawn, was
may be done either "willfully", or "negligently". The registered in the name of one "Eugenio Baltao";
trial court as well as the respondent appellate court verification with the drawee bank, the Pacific
mistakenly lumped these three (3) articles Banking Corporation, revealed that the signature
together, and cited the same as the bases for the appearing on the check belonged to one "Eugenio
award of damages in the civil complaint filed Baltao".
against petitioners, thus:
In a letter dated December 16, 1983, counsel for
With the foregoing legal provisions petitioners wrote private respondent demanding
(Articles 19, 20, and 21) in focus, there is that he make good the amount of the check.
not much difficulty in ascertaining the Counsel for private respondent wrote back and
means by which appellants' first assigned denied, among others, that private respondent
error should be resolved, given the ever transacted business with Albenson
admitted fact that when there was an Enterprises Corporation; that he ever issued the
attempt to collect the amount of check in question. Private respondent's counsel
P2,575.00, the defendants were explicitly even went further: he made a warning to
warned that plaintiff Eugenio S. Baltao is defendants to check the veracity of their claim. It is
not the Eugenio Baltao defendants had pivotal to note at this juncture that in this same
been dealing with (supra, p. 5). When the letter, if indeed private respondent wanted to clear
defendants nevertheless insisted and himself from the baseless accusation made
persisted in filing a case — a criminal case against his person, he should have made mention
no less — against plaintiff, said defendants of the fact that there are three (3) persons with the
ran afoul of the legal provisions (Articles same name, i.e.: Eugenio Baltao, Sr., Eugenio S.
19, 20, and 21 of the Civil Code) cited by Baltao, Jr. (private respondent), and Eugenio
the lower court and heretofore quoted Baltao III (private respondent's son, who as it
(supra). turned out later, was the issuer of the check). He,
however, failed to do this. The last two Baltaos
Defendants, not having been paid the were doing business in the same building —
amount of P2,575.00, certainly had the Baltao Building — located at 3267 V. Mapa Street,
right to complain. But that right is limited by Sta. Mesa, Manila. The mild steel plates were
ordered in the name of Guaranteed of which

79
respondent Eugenio S. Baltao is the president and prosecution. (Manila Gas Corporation vs. Court of
delivered to Guaranteed at Baltao building. Thus, Appeals, 100 SCRA 602 [1980]). Still, private
petitioners had every reason to believe that the respondent argues that liability under Articles 19,
Eugenio Baltao who issued the bouncing check is 20, and 21 of the Civil Code is so encompassing
respondent Eugenio S. Baltao when their counsel that it likewise includes liability for damages for
wrote respondent to make good the amount of the malicious prosecution under Article 2219 (8). True,
check and upon refusal, filed the complaint for a civil action for damages for malicious
violation of BP Blg. 22. prosecution is allowed under the New Civil Code,
more specifically Articles 19, 20, 26, 29, 32, 33, 35,
Private respondent, however, did nothing to clarify and 2219 (8) thereof. In order that such a case can
the case of mistaken identity at first hand. Instead, prosper, however, the following three (3) elements
private respondent waited in ambush and must be present, to wit: (1) The fact of the
thereafter pounced on the hapless petitioners at a prosecution and the further fact that the defendant
time he thought was propitious by filing an action was himself the prosecutor, and that the action
for damages. The Court will not countenance this was finally terminated with an acquittal; (2) That in
devious scheme. bringing the action, the prosecutor acted without
probable cause; (3) The prosecutor was actuated
The criminal complaint filed against private or impelled by legal malice (Lao vs. Court of
respondent after the latter refused to make good Appeals, 199 SCRA 58, [1991]).
the amount of the bouncing check despite demand
was a sincere attempt on the part of petitioners to Thus, a party injured by the filing of a court case
find the best possible means by which they could against him, even if he is later on absolved, may
collect the sum of money due them. A person who file a case for damages grounded either on the
has not been paid an obligation owed to him will principle of abuse of rights, or on malicious
naturally seek ways to compel the debtor to pay prosecution. As earlier stated, a complaint for
him. It was normal for petitioners to find means to damages based on malicious prosecution will
make the issuer of the check pay the amount prosper only if the three (3) elements aforecited
thereof. In the absence of a wrongful act or are shown to exist. In the case at bar, the second
omission or of fraud or bad faith, moral damages and third elements were not shown to exist. It is
cannot be awarded and that the adverse result of well-settled that one cannot be held liable for
an action does not per se make the action maliciously instituting a prosecution where one
wrongful and subject the actor to the payment of has acted with probable cause. "Probable cause is
damages, for the law could not have meant to the existence of such facts and circumstances as
impose a penalty on the right to litigate (Rubio vs. would excite the belief, in a reasonable mind,
Court of Appeals, 141 SCRA 488 [1986]). acting on the facts within the knowledge of the
prosecutor, that the person charged was guilty of
In the case at bar, private respondent does not the crime for which he was prosecuted. In other
deny that the mild steel plates were ordered by and words, a suit will lie only in cases where a legal
delivered to Guaranteed at Baltao building and as prosecution has been carried on without probable
part payment thereof, the bouncing check was cause. The reason for this rule is that it would be a
issued by one Eugenio Baltao. Neither had private very great discouragement to public justice, if
respondent conveyed to petitioner that there are prosecutors, who had tolerable ground of
two Eugenio Baltaos conducting business in the suspicion, were liable to be sued at law when their
same building — he and his son Eugenio Baltao indictment miscarried" (Que vs. Intermediate
III. Considering that Guaranteed, which received Appellate Court, 169 SCRA 137 [1989]).
the goods in payment of which the bouncing check
was issued is owned by respondent, petitioner The presence of probable cause signifies, as a
acted in good faith and probable cause in filing the legal consequence, the absence of malice. In the
complaint before the provincial fiscal. instant case, it is evident that petitioners were not
motivated by malicious intent or by sinister design
To constitute malicious prosecution, there must be to unduly harass private respondent, but only by a
proof that the prosecution was prompted by a well-founded anxiety to protect their rights when
sinister design to vex and humiliate a person, and they filed the criminal complaint against private
that it was initiated deliberately by the defendant respondent.
knowing that his charges were false and
groundless. Concededly, the mere act of To constitute malicious prosecution, there
submitting a case to the authorities for prosecution must be proof that the prosecution was
does not make one liable for malicious prompted by a sinister design to vex and
humiliate a person, that it was initiated

80
deliberately by the defendant knowing that faith. If damage results from a person's exercising
his charges were false and groundless. his legal rights, it is damnum absque injuria (Ilocos
Concededly, the mere act of submitting a Norte Electric Company vs. Court of Appeals, 179
case to the authorities for prosecution SCRA 5 [1989]).
does not make one liable for malicious
prosecution. Proof and motive that the Coming now to the claim of private respondent for
institution of the action was prompted by a actual or compensatory damages, the records
sinister design to vex and humiliate a show that the same was based solely on his
person must be clearly and preponderantly allegations without proof to substantiate the same.
established to entitle the victims to He did not present proof of the cost of the medical
damages (Ibid.). treatment which he claimed to have undergone as
a result of the nervous breakdown he suffered, nor
In the case at bar, there is no proof of a sinister did he present proof of the actual loss to his
design on the part of petitioners to vex or humiliate business caused by the unjust litigation against
private respondent by instituting the criminal case him. In determining actual damages, the court
against him. While petitioners may have been cannot rely on speculation, conjectures or
negligent to some extent in determining the liability guesswork as to the amount. Without the actual
of private respondent for the dishonored check, proof of loss, the award of actual damages
the same is not so gross or reckless as to amount becomes erroneous (Guilatco vs. City of Dagupan,
to bad faith warranting an award of damages. 171 SCRA 382 [1989]).

The root of the controversy in this case is founded Actual and compensatory damages are those
on a case of mistaken identity. It is possible that recoverable because of pecuniary loss — in
with a more assiduous investigation, petitioners business, trade, property, profession, job or
would have eventually discovered that private occupation — and the same must be proved,
respondent Eugenio S. Baltao is not the "Eugenio otherwise, if the proof is flimsy and
Baltao" responsible for the dishonored check. unsubstantiated, no damages will be given (Rubio
However, the record shows that petitioners did vs. Court of Appeals, 141 SCRA 488 [1986]). For
exert considerable effort in order to determine the these reasons, it was gravely erroneous for
liability of private respondent. Their investigation respondent court to have affirmed the award of
pointed to private respondent as the "Eugenio actual damages in favor of private respondent in
Baltao" who issued and signed the dishonored the absence of proof thereof.
check as the president of the debtor-corporation
Guaranteed Enterprises. Their error in proceeding Where there is no evidence of the other party
against the wrong individual was obviously in the having acted in wanton, fraudulent or reckless, or
nature of an innocent mistake, and cannot be oppressive manner, neither may exemplary
characterized as having been committed in bad damages be awarded (Dee Hua Liong Electrical
faith. This error could have been discovered if Equipment Corporation vs. Reyes, 145 SCRA 488
respondent had submitted his counter-affidavit [1986]).
before investigating fiscal Sumaway and was
immediately rectified by Provincial Fiscal Mauro As to the award of attorney's fees, it is well-settled
Castro upon discovery thereof, i.e., during the that the same is the exception rather than the
reinvestigation resulting in the dismissal of the general rule. Needless to say, the award of
complaint. attorney's fees must be disallowed where the
award of exemplary damages is eliminated (Article
Furthermore, the adverse result of an action does 2208, Civil Code; Agustin vs. Court of Appeals,
not per se make the act wrongful and subject the 186 SCRA 375 [1990]). Moreover, in view of the
actor to the payment of moral damages. The law fact that there was no malicious prosecution
could not have meant to impose a penalty on the against private respondent, attorney's fees cannot
right to litigate, such right is so precious that moral be awarded him on that ground.
damages may not be charged on those who may
even exercise it erroneously. And an adverse In the final analysis, there is no proof or showing
decision does not ipso facto justify the award of that petitioners acted maliciously or in bad faith in
attorney's fees to the winning party (Garcia vs. the filing of the case against private respondent.
Gonzales, 183 SCRA 72 [1990]). Consequently, in the absence of proof of fraud and
bad faith committed by petitioners, they cannot be
Thus, an award of damages and attorney's fees is held liable for damages (Escritor, Jr. vs.
unwarranted where the action was filed in good Intermediate Appellate Court, 155 SCRA 577

81
[1987]). No damages can be awarded in the On March 31, 1954, counsel for plaintiff filed a
instant case, whether based on the principle of notice of appeal, appeal bond, and record on
abuse of rights, or for malicious prosecution. The appeal in behalf only of plaintiff even if they also
questioned judgment in the instant case attests to represent the intervenors, which in due time were
the propensity of trial judges to award damages approved, the Court instructing its clerk to forward
without basis. Lower courts are hereby cautioned the record on appeal to the Supreme Court
anew against awarding unconscionable sums as together with all the evidence presented in the
damages without bases therefor. case. This instruction was actually complied with.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the On August 31, 1954, the Deputy Clerk of the
decision of the Court of Appeals in C.A. G.R. C.V. Supreme Court notified counsel of plaintiff that the
No. 14948 dated May 13, 1989, is hereby record as well as the evidence have already been
REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Costs against received and that they should file their brief within
respondent Baltao. 45 days from receipt of the notice. On November
2, 1954, counsel filed their brief for appellants. On
SO ORDERED. November 6, 1954, or 7 months after the judgment
had become final as against the intervenors, and
Gutierrez, Jr., Davide, Jr., Romero and Melo, JJ., 4 days after counsel for appellants had submitted
concur. the latter's brief, counsel for intervenors filed with
the Supreme Court a petition for correction of the
record on appeal in order to enable them to insert
therein the names of the intervenors as appellants,
Republic of the Philippines the petition being based, among others, on the
SUPREME COURT ground that the omission of the names of the
Manila intervenors in said record on appeal was due to
the mistake of the typist who prepared it while the
EN BANC attorney in charge was on vacation. The petition
was vigorously opposed by counsel for defendant,
G.R. No. L-8883 July 14, 1959 contending that the same would serve no purpose,
whatsoever considering that the intervenors had
ALFREDO M. VELAYO, ETC., plaintiff, not presented any evidence in support of their
vs. claim, aside from the fact that the alleged absence
SHELL COMPANY OF THE PHILIPPINES of the attorney of the intervenors cannot constitute
ISLANDS, LTD., defendant-appellee. a justification for the alleged omission of the
ALFONSO Z. SYCIP, ET. AL., intervenors- intervenors as appellants. On November 12, 1954,
appellants. the Court denied the petition. Counsel intervenors
moved for a reconsideration of the order, but the
Sycip, Quisumbing, Salazar and Associates for same was denied.
appellants.
Ozaeta, Lichauco and Picazo for appellee. On November 19, 1954, counsel for intervenors
filed with the lower court a petition for relief under
BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.: Rule 38 of the Rules of Court, wherein he
reiterated the same grounds they alleged in the
petition for correction filed by them in the Supreme
On December 17, 1948, Alfredo M. Velayo as
Court, which petition was denied on November 27,
assignees of the insolvent Commercial Airlines,
1954, for having been filed outside the
Inc., instituted an action against Shell Company of
reglementary period fixed in said Rule 38. Counsel
the Philippine Islands, Ltd., in the Court of First
filed a motion for reconsideration, which was again
Instance of Manila for injunction and damages
denied, the Court stating that "no judgment or
(Civil Case No. 6966). On October 26, 1951, a
order has been rendered, nor any other
complaint in intervention was filed by Alfonso
proceeding taken by this Court on the right of the
Sycip, Paul Sycip, and Yek Trading Corporation,
intervenors to appeal."
and on November 14, 1951, by Mabasa &
Company.
On December 20, 1954, counsel filed once more a
motion to amend the record on appeal based on
After trial wherein plaintiff presented evidence in
grounds identical with those alleged in the petition
his behalf, but none in behalf of intervenors, the
for correction filed before the Supreme Court. On
court rendered decision dismissing plaintiff's
December 27, 1954, the lower court denied the
complaint as well as those filed by the intervenors.
motion. On January 6, 1955, counsel filed a

82
petition for relief from this last order entered on Paras, C.J., Bengzon, Padilla, Montemayor,
December 27, 1954, to which counsel for Labrador, Concepcion, Endencia and Barrera,
defendant filed an opposition. On February 5, JJ., concur.
1955, hearing was had on both the petition for
relief and the opposition, and on February 9, 1955,
the petition was denied on the ground that the case
is already before the Supreme Court on appeal. It
is from this order that the counsel for intervenors
Republic of the Philippines
has taken the appeal now before us.
SUPREME COURT
Manila
The instant appeal has no merit.
EN BANC
To begin with, the only remedy which appellants
now seek in this appeal is the inclusion of the
G.R. No. L-19671 November 29, 1965
intervenors as appellants in the appeal from the
decision rendered in the main case, but this
remedy has already been denied twice by this PASTOR B. TENCHAVEZ, plaintiff-appellant,
Court, first, in its resolution of November 12, 1954 vs.
denying their petition for correction of the record VICENTA F. ESCAÑO, ET AL., defendants-
on appeal, and, second, in denying their motion for appellees.
reconsideration of said resolution. It should be
noted that the grounds relied upon in this appeal I. V. Binamira & F. B. Barria for plaintiff-appellant.
are the same grounds alleged in said petition for Jalandoni & Jarnir for defendants-appellees.
correction.
REYES, J.B.L., J.:
In the second place, the intervenors have no right
or reason to appeal from the decision in the main Direct appeal, on factual and legal questions, from
case, it appearing that they did not introduce any the judgment of the Court of First Instance of
evidence during the trial in support of their Cebu, in its Civil Case No. R-4177, denying the
complaint, which shows that their appeal would be claim of the plaintiff-appellant, Pastor B.
merely pro-forma. And, in any event, they made Tenchavez, for legal separation and one million
the attempt to amend the record on appeal seven pesos in damages against his wife and parents-in-
(7) months after the decision had become final law, the defendants-appellees, Vicente, Mamerto
against them. and Mena,1 all surnamed "Escaño," respectively.2

In the third place, the intervenors have no right or The facts, supported by the evidence of record, are
reason to file a petition for relief under Rule 38 of the following:
the Rules of Court from the order of the lower court
issued on December 27, 1954, for the reason that Missing her late afternoon classes on 24 February
the same was entered upon a motion filed by them. 1948 in the University of San Carlos, Cebu City,
Indeed they cannot reasonably assert that the where she was then enrolled as a second year
order was entered against them through fraud, student of commerce, Vicenta Escaño, 27 years of
accident, mistake, or negligence. The fraud age (scion of a well-to-do and socially prominent
mentioned in Rule 38 is the fraud committed by the Filipino family of Spanish ancestry and a
adverse party and certainly the same cannot be "sheltered colegiala"), exchanged marriage vows
attributed to the Court. with Pastor Tenchavez, 32 years of age, an
engineer, ex-army officer and of undistinguished
Finally, it appears that the main case has already stock, without the knowledge of her parents,
been decided by this Court on the merits on before a Catholic chaplain, Lt. Moises Lavares, in
October 31, 1956, reversing the decision of the the house of one Juan Alburo in the said city. The
lower court and awarding damages to plaintiff, marriage was the culmination of a previous love
which apparently is the very purpose which the affair and was duly registered with the local civil
intervenors seek to accomplish in joining the register.
appeal as co-appellants. This appeal, therefore,
has already become moot. Vicenta's letters to Pastor, and his to her, before
the marriage, indicate that the couple were deeply
Wherefore, the order appealed from is affirmed, in love. Together with a friend, Pacita Noel, their
with costs against appellants. matchmaker and go-between, they had planned

83
out their marital future whereby Pacita would be drafted by then Senator Emmanuel Pelaez, to
the governess of their first-born; they started annul her marriage. She did not sign the petition
saving money in a piggy bank. A few weeks before (Exh. "B-5"). The case was dismissed without
their secret marriage, their engagement was prejudice because of her non-appearance at the
broken; Vicenta returned the engagement ring and hearing (Exh. "B-4").
accepted another suitor, Joseling Lao. Her love for
Pastor beckoned; she pleaded for his return, and On 24 June 1950, without informing her husband,
they reconciled. This time they planned to get she applied for a passport, indicating in her
married and then elope. To facilitate the application that she was single, that her purpose
elopement, Vicenta had brought some of her was to study, and she was domiciled in Cebu City,
clothes to the room of Pacita Noel in St. Mary's and that she intended to return after two years.
Hall, which was their usual trysting place. The application was approved, and she left for the
United States. On 22 August 1950, she filed a
Although planned for the midnight following their verified complaint for divorce against the herein
marriage, the elopement did not, however, plaintiff in the Second Judicial District Court of the
materialize because when Vicenta went back to State of Nevada in and for the County of Washoe,
her classes after the marriage, her mother, who on the ground of "extreme cruelty, entirely mental
got wind of the intended nuptials, was already in character." On 21 October 1950, a decree of
waiting for her at the college. Vicenta was taken divorce, "final and absolute", was issued in open
home where she admitted that she had already court by the said tribunal.
married Pastor. Mamerto and Mena Escaño were
surprised, because Pastor never asked for the In 1951 Mamerto and Mena Escaño filed a petition
hand of Vicenta, and were disgusted because of with the Archbishop of Cebu to annul their
the great scandal that the clandestine marriage daughter's marriage to Pastor (Exh. "D"). On 10
would provoke (t.s.n., vol. III, pp. 1105-06). The September 1954, Vicenta sought papal
following morning, the Escaño spouses sought dispensation of her marriage (Exh. "D"-2).
priestly advice. Father Reynes suggested a
recelebration to validate what he believed to be an On 13 September 1954, Vicenta married an
invalid marriage, from the standpoint of the American, Russell Leo Moran, in Nevada. She
Church, due to the lack of authority from the now lives with him in California, and, by him, has
Archbishop or the parish priest for the officiating begotten children. She acquired American
chaplain to celebrate the marriage. The citizenship on 8 August 1958.
recelebration did not take place, because on 26
February 1948 Mamerto Escaño was handed by a
But on 30 July 1955, Tenchavez had initiated the
maid, whose name he claims he does not
proceedings at bar by a complaint in the Court of
remember, a letter purportedly coming from San
First Instance of Cebu, and amended on 31 May
Carlos college students and disclosing an
1956, against Vicenta F. Escaño, her parents,
amorous relationship between Pastor Tenchavez
Mamerto and Mena Escaño, whom he charged
and Pacita Noel; Vicenta translated the letter to her
with having dissuaded and discouraged Vicenta
father, and thereafter would not agree to a new
from joining her husband, and alienating her
marriage. Vicenta and Pastor met that day in the
affections, and against the Roman Catholic
house of Mrs. Pilar Mendezona. Thereafter,
Church, for having, through its Diocesan Tribunal,
Vicenta continued living with her parents while
decreed the annulment of the marriage, and asked
Pastor returned to his job in Manila. Her letter of
for legal separation and one million pesos in
22 March 1948 (Exh. "M"), while still solicitous of
damages. Vicenta claimed a valid divorce from
her husband's welfare, was not as endearing as
plaintiff and an equally valid marriage to her
her previous letters when their love was aflame.
present husband, Russell Leo Moran; while her
parents denied that they had in any way influenced
Vicenta was bred in Catholic ways but is of a their daughter's acts, and counterclaimed for moral
changeable disposition, and Pastor knew it. She damages.
fondly accepted her being called a "jellyfish." She
was not prevented by her parents from
The appealed judgment did not decree a legal
communicating with Pastor (Exh. "1-Escaño"), but
separation, but freed the plaintiff from supporting
her letters became less frequent as the days
his wife and to acquire property to the exclusion of
passed. As of June, 1948 the newlyweds were
his wife. It allowed the counterclaim of Mamerto
already estranged (Exh. "2-Escaño"). Vicenta had
Escaño and Mena Escaño for moral and
gone to Jimenez, Misamis Occidental, to escape
exemplary damages and attorney's fees against
from the scandal that her marriage stirred in Cebu
society. There, a lawyer filed for her a petition,

84
the plaintiff-appellant, to the extent of P45,000.00, one or several of the formal requirements
and plaintiff resorted directly to this Court. of this Act if, when it was performed, the
spouses or one of them believed in good
The appellant ascribes, as errors of the trial court, faith that the person who solemnized the
the following: marriage was actually empowered to do
so, and that the marriage was perfectly
1. In not declaring legal separation; in not legal.
holding defendant Vicenta F. Escaño liable
for damages and in dismissing the The good faith of all the parties to the marriage
complaint;. (and hence the validity of their marriage) will be
presumed until the contrary is positively proved
2. In not holding the defendant parents (Lao vs. Dee Tim, 45 Phil. 739, 745; Francisco vs.
Mamerto Escano and the heirs of Doña Jason, 60 Phil. 442, 448). It is well to note here that
Mena Escaño liable for damages;. in the case at bar, doubts as to the authority of the
solemnizing priest arose only after the marriage,
when Vicenta's parents consulted Father Reynes
3 In holding the plaintiff liable for and
and the archbishop of Cebu. Moreover, the very
requiring him to pay the damages to the
act of Vicenta in abandoning her original action for
defendant parents on their counterclaims;
annulment and subsequently suing for divorce
and.
implies an admission that her marriage to plaintiff
was valid and binding.
4. In dismissing the complaint and in
denying the relief sought by the plaintiff.
Defendant Vicenta Escaño argues that when she
contracted the marriage she was under the undue
That on 24 February 1948 the plaintiff-appellant, influence of Pacita Noel, whom she charges to
Pastor Tenchavez, and the defendant-appellee, have been in conspiracy with appellant
Vicenta Escaño, were validly married to each Tenchavez. Even granting, for argument's sake,
other, from the standpoint of our civil law, is clearly the truth of that contention, and assuming that
established by the record before us. Both parties Vicenta's consent was vitiated by fraud and undue
were then above the age of majority, and influence, such vices did not render her
otherwise qualified; and both consented to the marriage ab initio void, but merely voidable, and
marriage, which was performed by a Catholic the marriage remained valid until annulled by a
priest (army chaplain Lavares) in the presence of competent civil court. This was never done, and
competent witnesses. It is nowhere shown that admittedly, Vicenta's suit for annulment in the
said priest was not duly authorized under civil law Court of First Instance of Misamis was dismissed
to solemnize marriages. for non-prosecution.

The chaplain's alleged lack of ecclesiastical It is equally clear from the record that the valid
authorization from the parish priest and the marriage between Pastor Tenchavez and Vicenta
Ordinary, as required by Canon law, is irrelevant in Escaño remained subsisting and undissolved
our civil law, not only because of the separation of under Philippine law, notwithstanding the decree
Church and State but also because Act 3613 of the of absolute divorce that the wife sought and
Philippine Legislature (which was the marriage law obtained on 21 October 1950 from the Second
in force at the time) expressly provided that — Judicial District Court of Washoe County, State of
Nevada, on grounds of "extreme cruelty, entirely
SEC. 1. Essential requisites. Essential mental in character." At the time the divorce
requisites for marriage are the legal decree was issued, Vicenta Escaño, like her
capacity of the contracting parties and husband, was still a Filipino citizen.4 She was then
consent. (Emphasis supplied) subject to Philippine law, and Article 15 of the Civil
Code of the Philippines (Rep. Act No. 386),
The actual authority of the solemnizing officer was already in force at the time, expressly provided:
thus only a formal requirement, and, therefore, not
essential to give the marriage civil effects,3 and Laws relating to family rights and duties or
this is emphasized by section 27 of said marriage to the status, condition and legal capacity
act, which provided the following: of persons are binding upon the citizens of
the Philippines, even though living abroad.
SEC. 27. Failure to comply with formal
requirements. No marriage shall be
declared invalid because of the absence of

85
The Civil Code of the Philippines, now in force, charge of deceit nor an anonymous letter charging
does not admit absolute divorce, quo ad vinculo immorality against the husband constitute,
matrimonii; and in fact does not even use that contrary to her claim, adequate excuse.
term, to further emphasize its restrictive policy on Wherefore, her marriage and cohabitation with
the matter, in contrast to the preceding legislation Russell Leo Moran is technically "intercourse with
that admitted absolute divorce on grounds of a person not her husband" from the standpoint of
adultery of the wife or concubinage of the husband Philippine Law, and entitles plaintiff-appellant
(Act 2710). Instead of divorce, the present Civil Tenchavez to a decree of "legal separation under
Code only provides for legal separation (Title IV, our law, on the basis of adultery" (Revised Penal
Book 1, Arts. 97 to 108), and, even in that case, it Code, Art. 333).
expressly prescribes that "the marriage bonds
shall not be severed" (Art. 106, subpar. 1). The foregoing conclusions as to the untoward
effect of a marriage after an invalid divorce are in
For the Philippine courts to recognize and give accord with the previous doctrines and rulings of
recognition or effect to a foreign decree of absolute this court on the subject, particularly those that
divorce betiveen Filipino citizens could be a patent were rendered under our laws prior to the approval
violation of the declared public policy of the state, of the absolute divorce act (Act 2710 of the
specially in view of the third paragraph of Article 17 Philippine Legislature). As a matter of legal history,
of the Civil Code that prescribes the following: our statutes did not recognize divorces a
vinculo before 1917, when Act 2710 became
Prohibitive laws concerning persons, their effective; and the present Civil Code of the
acts or property, and those which have for Philippines, in disregarding absolute divorces, in
their object public order, policy and good effect merely reverted to the policies on the subject
customs, shall not be rendered ineffective prevailing before Act 2710. The rulings, therefore,
by laws or judgments promulgated, or by under the Civil Code of 1889, prior to the Act
determinations or conventions agreed above-mentioned, are now, fully applicable. Of
upon in a foreign country. these, the decision in Ramirez vs. Gmur, 42 Phil.
855, is of particular interest. Said this Court in that
Even more, the grant of effectivity in this case:
jurisdiction to such foreign divorce decrees would,
in effect, give rise to an irritating and scandalous As the divorce granted by the French Court
discrimination in favor of wealthy citizens, to the must be ignored, it results that the
detriment of those members of our polity whose marriage of Dr. Mory and Leona Castro,
means do not permit them to sojourn abroad and celebrated in London in 1905, could not
obtain absolute divorces outside the Philippines. legalize their relations; and the
circumstance that they afterwards passed
From this point of view, it is irrelevant that for husband and wife in Switzerland until
appellant Pastor Tenchavez should have her death is wholly without legal
appeared in the Nevada divorce court. Primarily significance. The claims of the very
because the policy of our law cannot be nullified children to participate in the estate of
by acts of private parties (Civil Code,Art. 17, jam Samuel Bishop must therefore be rejected.
quot.); and additionally, because the mere The right to inherit is limited to legitimate,
appearance of a non-resident consort cannot legitimated and acknowledged natural
confer jurisdiction where the court originally had children. The children of adulterous
none (Area vs. Javier, 95 Phil. 579). relations are wholly excluded. The word
"descendants" as used in Article 941 of the
Civil Code cannot be interpreted to include
From the preceding facts and considerations,
illegitimates born of adulterous relations.
there flows as a necessary consequence that in
(Emphasis supplied)
this jurisdiction Vicenta Escaño's divorce and
second marriage are not entitled to recognition as
valid; for her previous union to plaintiff Tenchavez Except for the fact that the successional rights of
must be declared to be existent and undissolved. the children, begotten from Vicenta's marriage to
It follows, likewise, that her refusal to perform her Leo Moran after the invalid divorce, are not
wifely duties, and her denial of consortium and her involved in the case at bar, the Gmur case is
desertion of her husband constitute in law a wrong authority for the proposition that such union is
caused through her fault, for which the husband is adulterous in this jurisdiction, and, therefore,
entitled to the corresponding indemnity (Civil justifies an action for legal separation on the part
Code, Art. 2176). Neither an unsubstantiated of the innocent consort of the first marriage, that

86
stands undissolved in Philippine law. In not so parents sent her money while she was in the
declaring, the trial court committed error. United States; for it was natural that they should
not wish their daughter to live in penury even if
True it is that our ruling gives rise to anomalous they did not concur in her decision to divorce
situations where the status of a person (whether Tenchavez (27 Am. Jur. 130-132).
divorced or not) would depend on the territory
where the question arises. Anomalies of this kind There is no evidence that the parents of Vicenta,
are not new in the Philippines, and the answer to out of improper motives, aided and abetted her
them was given in Barretto vs. Gonzales, 58 Phil. original suit for annulment, or her subsequent
667: divorce; she appears to have acted independently,
and being of age, she was entitled to judge what
The hardship of the existing divorce laws was best for her and ask that her decisions be
in the Philippine Islands are well known to respected. Her parents, in so doing, certainly
the members of the Legislature. It is the cannot be charged with alienation of affections in
duty of the Courts to enforce the laws of the absence of malice or unworthy motives, which
divorce as written by Legislature if they are have not been shown, good faith being always
constitutional. Courts have no right to say presumed until the contrary is proved.
that such laws are too strict or too liberal.
(p. 72) SEC. 529. Liability of Parents, Guardians
or Kin. — The law distinguishes between
The appellant's first assignment of error is, the right of a parent to interest himself in
therefore, sustained. the marital affairs of his child and the
absence of rights in a stranger to
However, the plaintiff-appellant's charge that his intermeddle in such affairs. However, such
wife's parents, Dr. Mamerto Escaño and his wife, distinction between the liability of parents
the late Doña Mena Escaño, alienated the and that of strangers is only in regard to
affections of their daughter and influenced her what will justify interference. A parent is
conduct toward her husband are not supported by liable for alienation of affections resulting
credible evidence. The testimony of Pastor from his own malicious conduct, as where
Tenchavez about the Escaño's animosity toward he wrongfully entices his son or daughter
him strikes us to be merely conjecture and to leave his or her spouse, but he is not
exaggeration, and are belied by Pastor's own liable unless he acts maliciously, without
letters written before this suit was begun (Exh. "2- justification and from unworthy motives.
Escaño" and "Vicenta," Rec. on App., pp. 270- He is not liable where he acts and advises
274). In these letters he expressly apologized to his child in good faith with respect to his
the defendants for "misjudging them" and for the child's marital relations in the interest of his
"great unhappiness" caused by his "impulsive child as he sees it, the marriage of his child
blunders" and "sinful pride," "effrontery and not terminating his right and liberty to
audacity" [sic]. Plaintiff was admitted to the Escaño interest himself in, and be extremely
house to visit and court Vicenta, and the record solicitous for, his child's welfare and
shows nothing to prove that he would not have happiness, even where his conduct and
been accepted to marry Vicenta had he openly advice suggest or result in the separation
asked for her hand, as good manners and of the spouses or the obtaining of a divorce
breeding demanded. Even after learning of the or annulment, or where he acts under
clandestine marriage, and despite their shock at mistake or misinformation, or where his
such unexpected event, the parents of Vicenta advice or interference are indiscreet or
proposed and arranged that the marriage be unfortunate, although it has been held that
recelebrated in strict conformity with the canons of the parent is liable for consequences
their religion upon advice that the previous one resulting from recklessness. He may in
was canonically defective. If no recelebration of good faith take his child into his home and
the marriage ceremony was had it was not due to afford him or her protection and support,
defendants Mamerto Escaño and his wife, but to so long as he has not maliciously enticed
the refusal of Vicenta to proceed with it. That the his child away, or does not maliciously
spouses Escaño did not seek to compel or induce entice or cause him or her to stay away,
their daughter to assent to the recelebration but from his or her spouse. This rule has more
respected her decision, or that they abided by her frequently been applied in the case of
resolve, does not constitute in law an alienation of advice given to a married daughter, but it
affections. Neither does the fact that Vicenta's is equally applicable in the case of advice
given to a son.

87
Plaintiff Tenchavez, in falsely charging Vicenta's subsequently to the foreign decree of divorce,
aged parents with racial or social discrimination entitled to validity in the country;
and with having exerted efforts and pressured her
to seek annulment and divorce, unquestionably (2) That the remarriage of divorced wife and her
caused them unrest and anxiety, entitling them to co-habitation with a person other than the lawful
recover damages. While this suit may not have husband entitle the latter to a decree of legal
been impelled by actual malice, the charges were separation conformably to Philippine law;
certainly reckless in the face of the proven facts
and circumstances. Court actions are not (3) That the desertion and securing of an invalid
established for parties to give vent to their divorce decree by one consort entitles the other to
prejudices or spleen. recover damages;

In the assessment of the moral damages (4) That an action for alienation of affections
recoverable by appellant Pastor Tenchavez from against the parents of one consort does not lie in
defendant Vicenta Escaño, it is proper to take into the absence of proof of malice or unworthy motives
account, against his patently unreasonable claim on their part.
for a million pesos in damages, that (a) the
marriage was celebrated in secret, and its failure
WHEREFORE, the decision under appeal is
was not characterized by publicity or undue
hereby modified as follows;
humiliation on appellant's part; (b) that the parties
never lived together; and (c) that there is evidence
that appellant had originally agreed to the (1) Adjudging plaintiff-appellant Pastor Tenchavez
annulment of the marriage, although such a entitled to a decree of legal separation from
promise was legally invalid, being against public defendant Vicenta F. Escaño;
policy (cf. Art. 88, Civ. Code). While appellant is
unable to remarry under our law, this fact is a (2) Sentencing defendant-appellee Vicenta
consequence of the indissoluble character of the Escaño to pay plaintiff-appellant Tenchavez the
union that appellant entered into voluntarily and amount of P25,000 for damages and attorneys'
with open eyes rather than of her divorce and her fees;
second marriage. All told, we are of the opinion
that appellant should recover P25,000 only by way (3) Sentencing appellant Pastor Tenchavez to pay
of moral damages and attorney's fees. the appellee, Mamerto Escaño and the estate of
his wife, the deceased Mena Escaño, P5,000 by
With regard to the P45,000 damages awarded to way of damages and attorneys' fees.
the defendants, Dr. Mamerto Escaño and Mena
Escaño, by the court below, we opine that the Neither party to recover costs.
same are excessive. While the filing of this
unfounded suit must have wounded said Bengzon, C.J., Bautista Angelo, Concepcion,
defendants' feelings and caused them anxiety, the Dizon, Regala, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P. and
same could in no way have seriously injured their Zaldivar, JJ., concur.
reputation, or otherwise prejudiced them, lawsuits
having become a common occurrence in present
Republic of the Philippines
society. What is important, and has been correctly
SUPREME COURT
established in the decision of the court below, is
Manila
that said defendants were not guilty of any
improper conduct in the whole deplorable affair.
This Court, therefore, reduces the damages EN BANC
awarded to P5,000 only.
G.R. No. L-17396 May 30, 1962
Summing up, the Court rules:
CECILIO PE, ET AL., plaintiffs-appellants,
(1) That a foreign divorce between Filipino vs.
citizens, sought and decreed after the effectivity of ALFONSO PE, defendant-appellee.
the present Civil Code (Rep. Act 386), is not
entitled to recognition as valid in this jurisdiction; Cecilio L. Pe for and in his own behalf as plaintiff-
and neither is the marriage contracted with appellant.
another party by the divorced consort, Leodegario L. Mogol for defendant-appellee.

BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.:

88
Plaintiffs brought this action before the Court of Sometime in April, 1957, Lolita was staying with
First Instance of Manila to recover moral, her brothers and sisters at their residence at 54-B
compensatory, exemplary and corrective España Extension, Quezon City. On April 14,
damages in the amount of P94,000.00 exclusive of 1957, Lolita disappeared from said house. After
attorney's fees and expenses of litigation. she left, her brothers and sisters checked up her
thing and found that Lolita's clothes were gone.
Defendant, after denying some allegations However, plaintiffs found a note on a crumpled
contained in the complaint, set up as a defense piece of paper inside Lolita's aparador. Said note,
that the facts alleged therein, even if true, do not written on a small slip of paper approximately 4" by
constitute a valid cause of action. 3" in size, was in a handwriting recognized to be
that of defendant's. In English it reads:
After trial, the lower court, after finding that
defendant had carried on a love affair with one Honey, suppose I leave here on Sunday
Lolita Pe, an unmarried woman, being a married night, and that's 13th of this month and we
man himself, declared that defendant cannot be will have a date on the 14th, that's Monday
held liable for moral damages it appearing that morning at 10 a.m.
plaintiffs failed to prove that defendant, being
aware of his marital status, deliberately and in bad Reply
faith tried to win Lolita's affection. So it rendered
decision dismissing the complaint. 1äwphï1.ñët

Love

Plaintiffs brought this case on appeal before this The disappearance of Lolita was reported to the
Court on the ground that the issues involved are police authorities and the NBI but up to the present
purely of law. there is no news or trace of her whereabouts.

The facts as found by the trial court are: Plaintiffs The present action is based on Article 21 of the
are the parents, brothers and sisters of one Lolita New Civil Code which provides:
Pe. At the time of her disappearance on April 14,
1957, Lolita was 24 years old and unmarried. Any person who wilfully causes loss or
Defendant is a married man and works as agent of injury to another in a manner which is
the La Perla Cigar and Cigarette Factory. He used contrary to morals, good customs or public
to stay in the town of Gasan, Marinduque, in policy shall compensate the latter for the
connection with his aforesaid occupation. Lolita damage.
was staying with her parents in the same town.
Defendant was an adopted son of a Chinaman
There is no doubt that the claim of plaintiffs for
named Pe Beco, a collateral relative of Lolita's
damages is based on the fact that defendant,
father. Because of such fact and the similarity in
being a married man, carried on a love affair with
their family name, defendant became close to the
Lolita Pe thereby causing plaintiffs injury in a
plaintiffs who regarded him as a member of their
manner contrary to morals, good customs and
family. Sometime in 1952, defendant frequented
public policy. But in spite of the fact that plaintiffs
the house of Lolita on the pretext that he wanted
have clearly established that in illicit affair was
her to teach him how to pray the rosary. The two
carried on between defendant and Lolita which
eventually fell in love with each other and
caused great damage to the name and reputation
conducted clandestine trysts not only in the town
of plaintiffs who are her parents, brothers and
of Gasan but also in Boac where Lolita used to
sisters, the trial court considered their complaint
teach in a barrio school. They exchanged love
not actionable for the reason that they failed to
notes with each other the contents of which reveal
prove that defendant deliberately and in bad faith
not only their infatuation for each other but also the
tried to win Lolita's affection Thus, the trial court
extent to which they had carried their relationship.
said: "In the absence of proof on this point, the
The rumors about their love affairs reached the
court may not presume that it was the defendant
ears of Lolita's parents sometime, in 1955, and
who deliberately induced such relationship. We
since then defendant was forbidden from going to
cannot be unmindful of the uncertainties and
their house and from further seeing Lolita. The
sometimes inexplicable mysteries of the human
plaintiffs even filed deportation proceedings
emotions. It is a possibility that the defendant and
against defendant who is a Chinese national. The
Lolita simply fell in love with each other, not only
affair between defendant and Lolita continued
without any desire on their part, but also against
nonetheless.
their better judgment and in full consciousness of
what it will bring to both of them. This is specially

89
so with respect to Lolita, being an unmarried Republic of the Philippines
woman, falling in love with defendant who is a SUPREME COURT
married man." Manila

We disagree with this view. The circumstances EN BANC


under which defendant tried to win Lolita's
affection cannot lead, to any other conclusion than G.R. No. L-20089 December 26, 1964
that it was he who, thru an ingenious scheme or
trickery, seduced the latter to the extent of making BEATRIZ P. WASSMER, plaintiff-appellee,
her fall in love with him. This is shown by the fact vs.
that defendant frequented the house of Lolita on FRANCISCO X. VELEZ, defendant-appellant.
the pretext that he wanted her to teach him how to
pray the rosary. Because of the frequency of his
Jalandoni & Jamir for defendant-appellant.
visits to the latter's family who was allowed free
Samson S. Alcantara for plaintiff-appellee.
access because he was a collateral relative and
was considered as a member of her family, the two
eventually fell in love with each other and BENGZON, J.P., J.:
conducted clandestine love affairs not only in
Gasan but also in Boac where Lolita used to teach The facts that culminated in this case started with
in a barrio school. When the rumors about their dreams and hopes, followed by appropriate
illicit affairs reached the knowledge of her parents, planning and serious endeavors, but terminated in
defendant was forbidden from going to their house frustration and, what is worse, complete public
and even from seeing Lolita. Plaintiffs even filed humiliation.
deportation proceedings against defendant who is
a Chinese national. Nevertheless, defendant Francisco X. Velez and Beatriz P. Wassmer,
continued his love affairs with Lolita until she following their mutual promise of love, decided to
disappeared from the parental home. Indeed, no get married and set September 4, 1954 as the big
other conclusion can be drawn from this chain of day. On September 2, 1954 Velez left this note for
events than that defendant not only deliberately, his bride-to-be:
but through a clever strategy, succeeded in
winning the affection and love of Lolita to the Dear Bet —
extent of having illicit relations with her. The wrong
he has caused her and her family is indeed Will have to postpone wedding — My
immeasurable considering the fact that he is a mother opposes it. Am leaving on the
married man. Verily, he has committed an injury to Convair today.
Lolita's family in a manner contrary to morals, good
customs and public policy as contemplated in
Please do not ask too many people
Article 21 of the new Civil Code.
about the reason why — That would
only create a scandal.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is
reversed. Defendant is hereby sentenced to pay Paquing
the plaintiffs the sum of P5,000.00 as damages
and P2,000.00 as attorney's fees and expenses of
litigations. Costs against appellee. But the next day, September 3, he sent her the
following telegram:
Padilla, Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L.,
Barrera, Paredes and Dizon, JJ., concur. NOTHING CHANGED REST ASSURED
RETURNING VERY SOON APOLOGIZE
MAMA PAPA LOVE.

PAKING

Thereafter Velez did not appear nor was he heard


from again.

Sued by Beatriz for damages, Velez filed no


answer and was declared in default. Plaintiff
adduced evidence before the clerk of court as
commissioner, and on April 29, 1955, judgment

90
was rendered ordering defendant to pay plaintiff his control." An affidavit of merits like this stating
P2,000.00 as actual damages; P25,000.00 as mere conclusions or opinions instead of facts is
moral and exemplary damages; P2,500.00 as not valid. (Cortes vs. Co Bun Kim, L-3926, Oct. 10,
attorney's fees; and the costs. 1951; Vaswani vs. P. Tarrachand Bros., L-15800,
December 29, 1960.)
On June 21, 1955 defendant filed a "petition for
relief from orders, judgment and proceedings and Defendant, however, would contend that the
motion for new trial and reconsideration." Plaintiff affidavit of merits was in fact unnecessary, or a
moved to strike it cut. But the court, on August 2, mere surplusage, because the judgment sought to
1955, ordered the parties and their attorneys to be set aside was null and void, it having been
appear before it on August 23, 1955 "to explore at based on evidence adduced before the clerk of
this stage of the proceedings the possibility of court. In Province of Pangasinan vs. Palisoc, L-
arriving at an amicable settlement." It added that 16519, October 30, 1962, this Court pointed out
should any of them fail to appear "the petition for that the procedure of designating the clerk of court
relief and the opposition thereto will be deemed as commissioner to receive evidence is
submitted for resolution." sanctioned by Rule 34 (now Rule 33) of the Rules
of Court. Now as to defendant's consent to said
On August 23, 1955 defendant failed to appear procedure, the same did not have to be obtained
before court. Instead, on the following day his for he was declared in default and thus had no
counsel filed a motion to defer for two weeks the standing in court (Velez vs. Ramas, 40 Phil. 787;
resolution on defendant’s petition for relief. The Alano vs. Court of First Instance, L-14557,
counsel stated that he would confer with defendant October 30, 1959).
in Cagayan de Oro City — the latter's residence —
on the possibility of an amicable element. The In support of his "motion for new trial and
court granted two weeks counted from August 25, reconsideration," defendant asserts that the
1955. judgment is contrary to law. The reason given is
that "there is no provision of the Civil Code
Plaintiff manifested on June 15, 1956 that the two authorizing" an action for breach of promise to
weeks given by the court had expired on marry. Indeed, our ruling in Hermosisima vs. Court
September 8, 1955 but that defendant and his of Appeals (L-14628, Sept. 30, 1960), as
counsel had failed to appear. reiterated in Estopa vs. Biansay (L-14733, Sept.
30, 1960), is that "mere breach of a promise to
Another chance for amicable settlement was given marry" is not an actionable wrong. We pointed out
by the court in its order of July 6, 1956 calling the that Congress deliberately eliminated from the
parties and their attorneys to appear on July 13, draft of the new Civil Code the provisions that
1956. This time, however, defendant's counsel would have it so.
informed the court that chances of settling the case
amicably were nil. It must not be overlooked, however, that the extent
to which acts not contrary to law may be
On July 20, 1956 the court issued an order denying perpetrated with impunity, is not limitless for Article
defendant's aforesaid petition. Defendant has 21 of said Code provides that "any person who
appealed to this Court. In his petition of June 21, wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner
1955 in the court a quo defendant alleged that is contrary to morals, good customs or public
excusable negligence as ground to set aside the policy shall compensate the latter for the damage."
judgment by default. Specifically, it was stated that
defendant filed no answer in the belief that an The record reveals that on August 23, 1954
amicable settlement was being negotiated. plaintiff and defendant applied for a license to
contract marriage, which was subsequently issued
A petition for relief from judgment on grounds of (Exhs. A, A-1). Their wedding was set for
fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence, September 4, 1954. Invitations were printed and
must be duly supported by an affidavit of merits distributed to relatives, friends and acquaintances
stating facts constituting a valid defense. (Sec. 3, (Tsn., 5; Exh. C). The bride-to-be's trousseau,
Rule 38, Rules of Court.) Defendant's affidavit of party drsrses and other apparel for the important
merits attached to his petition of June 21, 1955 occasion were purchased (Tsn., 7-8). Dresses for
stated: "That he has a good and valid defense the maid of honor and the flower girl were
against plaintiff's cause of action, his failure to prepared. A matrimonial bed, with accessories,
marry the plaintiff as scheduled having been due was bought. Bridal showers were given and gifts
to fortuitous event and/or circumstances beyond received (Tsn., 6; Exh. E). And then, with but two

91
days before the wedding, defendant, who was
then 28 years old,: simply left a note for plaintiff
stating: "Will have to postpone wedding — My
mother opposes it ... " He enplaned to his home
city in Mindanao, and the next day, the day before Republic of the Philippines
the wedding, he wired plaintiff: "Nothing changed SUPREME COURT
rest assured returning soon." But he never Manila
returned and was never heard from again.
EN BANC
Surely this is not a case of mere breach of promise
to marry. As stated, mere breach of promise to
G.R. No. L-18630 December 17, 1966
marry is not an actionable wrong. But to formally
set a wedding and go through all the above-
described preparation and publicity, only to walk APOLONIO TANJANCO, petitioner,
out of it when the matrimony is about to be vs.
solemnized, is quite different. This is palpably and HON. COURT OF APPEALS and ARACELI
unjustifiably contrary to good customs for which SANTOS, respondents.
defendant must be held answerable in damages in
accordance with Article 21 aforesaid. P. Carreon and G. O. Veneracion, Jr. for petitioner.
Antonio V. Bonoan for respondents.
Defendant urges in his afore-stated petition that
the damages awarded were excessive. No REYES, J.B.L., J.:
question is raised as to the award of actual
damages. What defendant would really assert Appeal from a decision of the Court of Appeals (in
hereunder is that the award of moral and its Case No. 27210-R) revoking an order of the
exemplary damages, in the amount of P25,000.00, Court of First Instance of Rizal (in Civil Case No.
should be totally eliminated. Q-4797) dismissing appellant's action for support
and damages.
Per express provision of Article 2219 (10) of the
New Civil Code, moral damages are recoverable The essential allegations of the complaint are to
in the cases mentioned in Article 21 of said Code. the effect that, from December, 1957, the
As to exemplary damages, defendant contends defendant (appellee herein), Apolonio Tanjanco,
that the same could not be adjudged against him courted the plaintiff, Araceli Santos, both being of
because under Article 2232 of the New Civil Code adult age; that "defendant expressed and
the condition precedent is that "the defendant professed his undying love and affection for
acted in a wanton, fraudulent, reckless, plaintiff who also in due time reciprocated the
oppressive, or malevolent manner." The argument tender feelings"; that in consideration of
is devoid of merit as under the above-narrated defendant's promise of marriage plaintiff
circumstances of this case defendant clearly acted consented and acceded to defendant's pleas for
in a "wanton..., reckless [and] oppressive manner." carnal knowledge; that regularly until December
This Court's opinion, however, is that considering 1959, through his protestations of love and
the particular circumstances of this case, promises of marriage, defendant succeeded in
P15,000.00 as moral and exemplary damages is having carnal access to plaintiff, as a result of
deemed to be a reasonable award. which the latter conceived a child; that due to her
pregnant condition, to avoid embarrassment and
PREMISES CONSIDERED, with the above- social humiliation, plaintiff had to resign her job as
indicated modification, the lower court's judgment secretary in IBM Philippines, Inc., where she was
is hereby affirmed, with costs. receiving P230.00 a month; that thereby plaintiff
became unable to support herself and her baby;
Bengzon, C.J., Bautista Angelo, Reyes, J.B.L., that due to defendant's refusal to marry plaintiff, as
Barrera, Paredes, Dizon, Regala, Makalintal, and promised, the latter suffered mental anguish,
Zaldivar, JJ.,concur. besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral
shock, and social humiliation. The prayer was for
a decree compelling the defendant to recognize
the unborn child that plaintiff was bearing; to pay
her not less than P430.00 a month for her support
and that of her baby, plus P100,000.00 in moral
and exemplary damages, plus P10,000.00
attorney's fees.

92
Upon defendant's motion to dismiss, the court of morals, good customs or public
first instance dismissed the complaint for failure to policy shall compensate the latter
state a cause of action. for the damage."

Plaintiff Santos duly appealed to the Court of An example will illustrate the purview of the
Appeals, and the latter ultimately decided the foregoing norm: "A" seduces the nineteen-
case, holding with the lower court that no cause of year old daughter of "X". A promise of
action was shown to compel recognition of a child marriage either has not been made, or can
as yet unborn, nor for its support, but decreed that not be proved. The girl becomes pregnant.
the complaint did state a cause of action for Under the present laws, there is no crime,
damages, premised on Article 21 of the Civil Code as the girl is above eighteen years of age.
of the Philippines, prescribing as follows: Neither can any civil action for breach of
promise of marriage be filed. Therefore,
ART. 21. Any person who wilfully causes though the grievous moral wrong has been
loss or injury to another in a manner that is committed, and though the girl and her
contrary to morals, good customs or public family have suffered incalculable moral
policy shall compensate the latter for the damage, she and her parents cannot bring
damage. any action for damages. But under the
proposed article, she and her parents
The Court of Appeals, therefore, entered judgment would have such a right of action.
setting aside the dismissal and directing the court
of origin to proceed with the case. The Court of Appeals seems to have overlooked
that the example set forth in the Code
Defendant, in turn, appealed to this Court, Commission's memorandum refers to a tort upon
pleading that actions for breach of a promise to a minor who has been seduced. The essential
marry are not permissible in this jurisdiction, and feature is seduction, that in law is more than mere
invoking the rulings of this Court in Estopa vs. sexual intercourse, or a breach of a promise of
Piansay, L-14733, September 30, marriage; it connotes essentially the idea of deceit,
1960; Hermosisima vs. Court of Appeals, L-14628, enticement, superior power or abuse of confidence
January 29, 1962; and De Jesus vs. SyQuia, 58 on the part of the seducer to which the woman has
Phil. 886. yielded (U.S. vs. Buenaventura, 27 Phil. 121; U.S.
vs. Arlante, 9 Phil. 595).
We find this appeal meritorious.
It has been ruled in the Buenaventura case (supra)
that —
In holding that the complaint stated a cause of
action for damages, under Article 21 above
mentioned, the Court of Appeals relied upon and To constitute seduction there must in all
quoted from the memorandum submitted by the cases be some sufficient promise or
Code Commission to the Legislature in 1949 to inducement and the woman must yield
support the original draft of the Civil Code. because of the promise or other
Referring to Article 23 of the draft (now Article 21 inducement. If she consents merely from
of the Code), the Commission stated: carnal lust and the intercourse is from
mutual desire, there is no seduction (43
Cent. Dig. tit. Seduction, par. 56). She
But the Code Commission has gone
must be induced to depart from the path of
farther than the sphere of wrongs defined
virtue by the use of some species of arts,
or determined by positive law. Fully
persuasions and wiles, which are
sensible that there are countless gaps in
calculated to have and do have that effect,
the statutes, which leave so many victims
and which result in her ultimately
of moral wrongs helpless, even though
submitting her person to the sexual
they have actually suffered material and
embraces of her seducer (27 Phil. 123).
moral injury, the Commission has deemed
it necessary, in the interest of justice, to
incorporate in the proposed Civil Code the And in American Jurisprudence we find:
following rule:
On the other hand, in an action by the
"ART. 23. Any person who wilfully woman, the enticement, persuasion or
causes loss or injury to another in deception is the essence of the injury; and
a manner that is contrary to

93
a mere proof of intercourse is insufficient VI. That as a result of their intimate
to warrant a recover. relationship, the plaintiff started conceiving
which was confirmed by a doctor
Accordingly it is not seduction where the sometime in July, 1959;
willingness arises out of sexual desire or
curiosity of the female, and the defendant VII. That upon being certain of her
merely affords her the needed opportunity pregnant condition, the plaintiff informed
for the commission of the act. It has been the defendant and pleaded with him to
emphasized that to allow a recovery in all make good his promises of marriage, but
such cases would tend to the instead of honoring his promises and
demoralization of the female sex, and righting his wrong, the defendant stopped
would be a reward for unchastity by which and refrained from seeing the plaintiff
a class of adventuresses would be swift to since about July, 1959 has not visited the
profit." (47 Am. Jur. 662) plaintiff and to all intents and purposes has
broken their engagement and his
Bearing these principles in mind, let us examine promises.
the complaint. The material allegations there are
as follows: Over and above the partisan allegations, the facts
stand out that for one whole year, from 1958 to
I. That the plaintiff is of legal age, single, 1959, the plaintiff-appellee, a woman of adult age,
and residing at 56 South E. Diliman, maintained intimate sexual relations with
Quezon City, while defendant is also of appellant, with repeated acts of intercourse. Such
legal age, single and residing at 525 Padre conduct is incompatible with the idea of seduction.
Faura, Manila, where he may be served Plainly there is here voluntariness and mutual
with summons; passion; for had the appellant been deceived, had
she surrendered exclusively because of the deceit,
II. That the plaintiff and the defendant artful persuasions and wiles of the defendant, she
became acquainted with each other would not have again yielded to his embraces,
sometime in December, 1957 and soon much less for one year, without exacting early
thereafter, the defendant started visiting fulfillment of the alleged promises of marriage, and
and courting the plaintiff; would have cut chart all sexual relations upon
finding that defendant did not intend to fulfill his
promises. Hence, we conclude that no case is
III. That the defendant's visits were regular
made under Article 21 of the Civil Code, and no
and frequent and in due time the defendant
other cause of action being alleged, no error was
expressed and professed his undying love
committed by the Court of First Instance in
and affection for the plaintiff who also in
dismissing the complaint.
due time reciprocated the tender feelings;
Of course, the dismissal must be understood as
IV. That in the course of their engagement,
without prejudice to whatever actions may
the plaintiff and the defendant as are wont
correspond to the child of the plaintiff against the
of young people in love had frequent
defendant-appellant, if any. On that point, this
outings and dates, became very close and
Court makes no pronouncement, since the child's
intimate to each other and sometime in
own rights are not here involved.
July, 1958, in consideration of the
defendant's promises of marriage, the
plaintiff consented and acceded to the FOR THE FOREGOING REASONS, the decision
former's earnest and repeated pleas to of the Court of Appeals is reversed, and that of the
have carnal knowledge with him; Court of First Instance is affirmed. No costs.

V. That subsequent thereto and regularly Concepcion, C.J., Barrera, Dizon, Regala,
until about July, 1959 except for a short Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar, Sanchez and
period in December, 1958 when the Castro, JJ., concur.
defendant was out of the country, the
defendant through his protestations of love
and promises of marriage succeeded in
having carnal knowledge with the plaintiff;

94
the properties to Dr. Martin and to pay him
P5,000.00, as nominal damages; P5,000.00, as
moral damages and attorney's fees; and to pay the
costs of the suit. The writ of preliminary injunction
Republic of the Philippines earlier issued was made final and petitioner Cecilia
SUPREME COURT Zulueta and her attorneys and representatives
Manila were enjoined from "using or submitting/admitting
as evidence" the documents and papers in
question. On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed
SECOND DIVISION
the decision of the Regional Trial Court. Hence this
petition.
G.R. No. 107383 February 20, 1996
There is no question that the documents and
CECILIA ZULUETA, petitioner, papers in question belong to private respondent,
vs. Dr. Alfredo Martin, and that they were taken by his
COURT OF APPEALS and ALFREDO wife, the herein petitioner, without his knowledge
MARTIN, respondents. and consent. For that reason, the trial court
declared the documents and papers to be
DECISION properties of private respondent, ordered
petitioner to return them to private respondent and
MENDOZA, J.: enjoined her from using them in evidence. In
appealing from the decision of the Court of
This is a petition to review the decision of the Court Appeals affirming the trial court's decision,
of Appeals, affirming the decision of the Regional petitioner's only ground is that in Alfredo Martin v.
Trial Court of Manila (Branch X) which ordered Alfonso Felix, Jr.,1 this Court ruled that the
petitioner to return documents and papers taken documents and papers (marked as Annexes A-1
by her from private respondent's clinic without the to J-7 of respondent's comment in that case) were
latter's knowledge and consent. admissible in evidence and, therefore, their use by
petitioner's attorney, Alfonso Felix did not
The facts are as follows: constitute malpractice or gross misconduct, For
this reason it is contended that the Court of
Petitioner Cecilia Zulueta is the wife of private Appeals erred in affirming the decision of the trial
court instead of dismissing private respondent's
respondent Alfredo Martin. On March 26, 1982,
complaint.
petitioner entered the clinic of her husband, a
doctor of medicine, and in the presence of her
mother, a driver and private respondent's Petitioner's contention has no merit. The case
secretary, forcibly opened the drawers and cabinet against Atty. Felix, Jr. was for disbarment. Among
in her husband's clinic and took 157 documents other things, private respondent, Dr. Alfredo
consisting of private correspondence between Dr. Martin, as complainant in that case, charged that
Martin and his alleged paramours, greetings in using the documents in evidence, Atty. Felix, Jr.
cards, cancelled checks, diaries, Dr. Martin's committed malpractice or gross misconduct
passport, and photographs. The documents and because of the injunctive order of the trial court. In
papers were seized for use in evidence in a case dismissing the complaint against Atty. Felix, Jr.,
for legal separation and for disqualification from this Court took note of the following defense of
the practice of medicine which petitioner had filed Atty. Felix; Jr. which it found to be "impressed with
against her husband. merit:"2

Dr. Martin brought this action below for recovery of On the alleged malpractice or gross
the documents and papers and for damages misconduct of respondent [Alfonso Felix,
against petitioner. The case was filed with the Jr.], he maintains that:
Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch X, which,
after trial, rendered judgment for private ....
respondent, Dr. Alfredo Martin, declaring him "the
capital/exclusive owner of the properties described 4. When respondent refiled Cecilia's case
in paragraph 3 of plaintiff's Complaint or those for legal separation before the Pasig
further described in the Motion to Return and Regional Trial Court, there was admittedly
Suppress" and ordering Cecilia Zulueta and any an order of the Manila Regional Trial Court
person acting in her behalf to a immediately return prohibiting Cecilia from using the

95
documents Annex "A-1 to J-7." On and correspondence [to be] inviolable"3 is no less
September 6, 1983, however having applicable simply because it is the wife (who thinks
appealed the said order to this Court on a herself aggrieved by her husband's infidelity) who
petition for certiorari, this Court issued a is the party against whom the constitutional
restraining order on aforesaid date which provision is to be enforced. The only exception to
order temporarily set aside the order of the the prohibition in the Constitution is if there is a
trial court. Hence, during the enforceability
"lawful order [from a] court or when public safety
of this Court's order, respondent's request
or order requires otherwise, as prescribed by
for petitioner to admit the genuineness and
authenticity of the subject annexes cannot law."4 Any violation of this provision renders the
be looked upon as malpractice. Notably, evidence obtained inadmissible "for any purpose
petitioner Dr. Martin finally admitted the in any proceeding." 5
truth and authenticity of the questioned
annexes, At that point in time, would it The intimacies between husband and wife do not
have been malpractice for respondent to justify any one of them in breaking the drawers and
use petitioner's admission as evidence cabinets of the other and in ransacking them for
against him in the legal separation case any telltale evidence of marital infidelity. A person,
pending in the Regional Trial Court of by contracting marriage, does not shed his/her
Makati? Respondent submits it is not integrity or his right to privacy as an individual and
malpractice. the constitutional protection is ever available to
him or to her.
Significantly, petitioner's admission was
done not thru his counsel but by Dr. Martin The law insures absolute freedom of
himself under oath, Such verified communication between the spouses by making it
admission constitutes an affidavit, and, privileged. Neither husband nor wife may testify for
therefore, receivable in evidence against or against the other without the consent of the
him. Petitioner became bound by his affected spouse while the marriage
admission. For Cecilia to avail herself of subsists.6Neither may be examined without the
her husband's admission and use the consent of the other as to any communication
same in her action for legal separation received in confidence by one from the other
cannot be treated as malpractice. during the marriage, save for specified
exceptions.7 But one thing is freedom of
Thus, the acquittal of Atty. Felix, Jr. in the communication; quite another is a compulsion for
administrative case amounts to no more than a each one to share what one knows with the other.
declaration that his use of the documents and And this has nothing to do with the duty of fidelity
papers for the purpose of securing Dr. Martin's that each owes to the other.
admission as to their genuiness and authenticity
did not constitute a violation of the injunctive order WHEREFORE, the petition for review is DENIED
of the trial court. By no means does the decision in for lack of merit.
that case establish the admissibility of the
documents and papers in question. SO ORDERED.

It cannot be overemphasized that if Atty. Felix, Jr. Regalado, Romero and Puno, JJ., concur.
was acquitted of the charge of violating the writ of
preliminary injunction issued by the trial court, it
was only because, at the time he used the
Republic of the Philippines
documents and papers, enforcement of the order
SUPREME COURT
of the trial court was temporarily restrained by this
Manila
Court. The TRO issued by this Court was
eventually lifted as the petition for certiorari filed by
petitioner against the trial court's order was EN BANC
dismissed and, therefore, the prohibition against
the further use of the documents and papers G.R. No. L-69866 April 15, 1988
became effective again.
ROGELIO ABERCA, RODOLFO BENOSA,
Indeed the documents and papers in question are NESTOR BODINO NOEL ETABAG DANILO DE
inadmissible in evidence. The constitutional LA FUENTE, BELEN DIAZ-FLORES, MANUEL
injunction declaring "the privacy of communication MARIO GUZMAN, ALAN JAZMINEZ, EDWIN
LOPEZ, ALFREDO MANSOS, ALEX

96
MARCELINO, ELIZABETH PROTACIO- to forcibly extract information and incriminatory
MARCELINO, JOSEPH OLAYER, CARLOS statements from plaintiffs and to terrorize, harass
PALMA, MARCO PALO, ROLANDO SALUTIN, and punish them, said plans being previously
BENJAMIN SESGUNDO, ARTURO TABARA, known to and sanctioned by defendants.
EDWIN TULALIAN and REBECCA
TULALIAN petitioners, Plaintiffs sought actual/compensatory damages
vs. amounting to P39,030.00; moral damages in the
MAJ. GEN. FABIAN VER, COL. FIDEL amount of at least P150,000.00 each or a total of
SINGSON, COL. ROLANDO ABADILLA, COL. P3,000,000.00; exemplary damages in the amount
GERARDO B. LANTORIA, COL. GALILEO of at least P150,000.00 each or a total of
KINTANAR, 1ST LT. COL. PANFILO M. P3,000,000.00; and attorney's fees amounting to
LACSON, MAJ. RODOLFO AGUINALDO, CAPT. not less than P200,000.00.
DANILO PIZARRO, 1ST LT. PEDRO TANGO,
1ST LT. ROMEO RICARDO, 1ST LT. RAUL A motion to dismiss was filed by defendants,
BACALSO, MSGT BIENVENIDO BALABA and through their counsel, then Solicitor-General
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, National Capital Estelito Mendoza, alleging that (1) plaintiffs may
Judicial Region, Branch XCV (95), Quezon not cause a judicial inquiry into the circumstances
City, respondents. of their detention in the guise of a damage suit
because, as to them, the privilege of the writ of
habeas corpus is suspended; (2) assuming that
the courts can entertain the present action,
YAP, J.: defendants are immune from liability for acts done
in the performance of their official duties; and (3)
This petition for certiorari presents vital issues not the complaint states no cause of action against the
heretofore passed upon by this Court. It poses the question defendants. Opposition to said motion to dismiss
whether the suspension of the privilege of the writ of was filed by plaintiffs Marco Palo, Danilo de la
habeas corpus bars a civil action for damages for illegal Fuente, Benjamin Sesgundo, Nel Etabag, Alfredo
searches conducted by military personnel and other
violations of rights and liberties guaranteed under the Mansos and Rolando Salutin on July 8, 1983, and
Constitution. If such action for damages may be by plaintiffs Edwin Lopez, Manuel Mario Guzman,
maintained, who can be held liable for such violations: only Alan Jasminez, Nestor Bodino, Carlos Palma,
the military personnel directly involved and/or their Arturo Tabara, Joseph Olayer, Rodolfo Benosa,
superiors as well. Belen Diaz, Flores, Rogelio Aberca, Alex
Marcelino and Elizabeth Marcelino on July 21,
This case stems from alleged illegal searches and 1983. On November 7, 1983, a Consolidated
seizures and other violations of the rights and Reply was filed by defendants' counsel.
liberties of plaintiffs by various intelligence units of
the Armed Forces of the Philippines, known as Then, on November 8, 1983, the Regional Trial
Task Force Makabansa (TFM) ordered by General Court, National Capital Region, Branch 95, Judge
Fabian Ver "to conduct pre-emptive strikes against Willelmo C. Fortun, Presiding, 1 issued a resolution
known communist-terrorist (CT) underground granting the motion to dismiss. I sustained, lock,
houses in view of increasing reports about CT stock and barrel, the defendants' contention (1) the
plans to sow disturbances in Metro Manila," plaintiffs may not cause a judicial inquiry into the
Plaintiffs allege, among others, that complying with circumstances of their detention in the guise of a
said order, elements of the TFM raided several damage suit because, as to them, the privilege of
places, employing in most cases defectively the writ of habeas corpus is suspended; (2) that
issued judicial search warrants; that during these assuming that the court can entertain the present
raids, certain members of the raiding party action, defendants are immune from liability for
confiscated a number of purely personal items acts done in the performance of their official duties;
belonging to plaintiffs; that plaintiffs were arrested and (3) that the complaint states no cause of action
without proper warrants issued by the courts; that against defendants, since there is no allegation
for some period after their arrest, they were denied that the defendants named in the complaint
visits of relatives and lawyers; that plaintiffs were confiscated plaintiffs' purely personal properties in
interrogated in violation of their rights to silence violation of their constitutional rights, and with the
and counsel; that military men who interrogated possible exception of Major Rodolfo Aguinaldo
them employed threats, tortures and other forms and Sergeant Bienvenido Balabo committed acts
of violence on them in order to obtain incriminatory of torture and maltreatment, or that the defendants
information or confessions and in order to punish had the duty to exercise direct supervision and
them; that all violations of plaintiffs constitutional control of their subordinates or that they had
rights were part of a concerted and deliberate plan vicarious liability as employers under Article 2180

97
of the Civil Code. The lower court stated, "After a 1983, dismissing the complaint, nor
careful study of defendants' arguments, the court interposed an appeal therefrom within the
finds the same to be meritorious and must, reglementary period, as prayed for by the
therefore, be granted. On the other hand, plaintiffs' defendants, said Order is now final against
arguments in their opposition are lacking in merit." said plaintiffs.

A motion to set aside the order dismissing the Assailing the said order of May 11, 1984, the
complaint and a supplemental motion for plaintiffs filed a motion for reconsideration on May
reconsideration was filed by the plaintiffs on 28,1984, alleging that it was not true that plaintiffs
November 18, 1983, and November 24, 1983, Rogelio Aberca, Danilo de la Fuente, Marco Palo,
respectively. On December 9, 1983, the Alan Jasminez, Alex Marcelino, Elizabeth
defendants filed a comment on the aforesaid Protacio-Marcelino, Alfredo Mansos and Rolando
motion of plaintiffs, furnishing a copy thereof to the Salutin failed to file a motion to reconsider the
attorneys of all the plaintiffs, namely, Attys. Jose order of November 8, 1983 dismissing the
W. Diokno, Procopio Beltran, Rene Sarmiento, complaint, within the reglementary period.
Efren Mercado, Auguso Sanchez, Antonio L. Plaintiffs claimed that the motion to set aside the
Rosales, Pedro B. Ella Jr., Arno V. Sanidad, order of November 8, 1983 and the amplificatory
Alexander Padilla, Joker Arroyo, Rene Saguisag, motion for reconsideration was filed for all the
Ramon Esguerra and Felicitas Aquino. plaintiffs, although signed by only some of the
lawyers.
On December 15, 1983, Judge Fortun issued an
order voluntarily inhibiting himself from further In its resolution of September 21, 1984, the
proceeding in the case and leaving the resolution respondent court dealt with both motions (1) to
of the motion to set aside the order of dismissal to reconsider its order of May 11, 1984 declaring that
Judge Lising, "to preclude any suspicion that he with respect to certain plaintiffs, the resolution of
(Judge Fortun) cannot resolve [the] aforesaid November 8, 1983 had already become final, and
pending motion with the cold neutrality of an (2) to set aside its resolution of November 8, 1983
impartial judge and to put an end to plaintiffs granting the defendants' motion to dismiss. In the
assertion that the undersigned has no authority or dispositive portion of the order of September 21,
jurisdiction to resolve said pending motion." This 1984, the respondent court resolved:
order prompted plaintiffs to reesolve an
amplificatory motion for reconsideration signed in (1) That the motion to set aside the order
the name of the Free Legal Assistance Group of finality, dated May 11, 1984, of the
(FLAG) of Mabini Legal Aid Committee, by Attys. Resolution of dismissal of the complaint of
Joker P. Arroyo, Felicitas Aquino and Arno plaintiffs Rogelio Aberca, Danilo de la
Sanidad on April 12, 1984. On May 2,1984, the Fuente, Marco Palo, Alan Jasminez Alex
defendants filed a comment on said amplificatory Marcelino, Elizabeth Protacio-Marcelino,
motion for reconsideration. Alfredo Mansos and Rolando Salutin is
deed for lack of merit;
In an order dated May 11, 1984, the trial court,
Judge Esteban Lising, Presiding, without acting on (2) For lack of cause of action as against
the motion to set aside order of November 8, 1983, the following defendants, to wit:
issued an order, as follows:
1. Gen Fabian Ver
It appearing from the records that, indeed,
the following plaintiffs, Rogelio Aberca, 2. Col. Fidel Singson
Danilo de la Fuente and Marco Palo,
represented by counsel, Atty. Jose W.
3. Col. Rolando Abadilla
Diokno, Alan Jasminez represented by
counsel, Atty. Augusta Sanchez, Spouses
Alex Marcelino and Elizabeth Protacio- 4. Lt. Col. Conrado Lantoria, Jr.
Marcelino, represented by counsel, Atty.
Procopio Beltran, Alfredo Mansos 5. Col. Galileo Montanar
represented by counsel, Atty. Rene
Sarmiento, and Rolando Salutin, 6. Col. Panfilo Lacson
represented by counsel, Atty. Efren
Mercado, failed to file a motion to 7. Capt. Danilo Pizaro
reconsider the Order of November 8,

98
8. 1 Lt Pedro Tango (6) The right against deprivation of
property without due process
9. Lt. Romeo Ricardo
(7) of law;
10. Lt. Raul Bacalso
(8) The right to a just compensation when
the motion to set aside and reconsider the private property is taken for public use;
Resolution of dismissal of the present
action or complaint, dated November 8, (9) The right to the equal protection of the
1983, is also denied but in so far as it laws;
affects and refers to defendants, to wit:
(10) The right to be secure in one's person,
1. Major Rodolfo Aguinaldo, and house, papers, and effects against
unreasonable searches and seizures;
2. Master Sgt. Bienvenido Balaba
(11) The liberty of abode and of changing
the motion to reconsider and set aside the the same;
Resolution of dismissal dated November
3, 1983 is granted and the Resolution of (12) The privacy of cmmunication and
dismissal is, in this respect, reconsidered correspondence;
and modified.
(13) The right to become a member of
Hence, petitioners filed the instant petition for associations or societies for purposes not
certiorari on March 15, 1985 seeking to annul and contrary to law;
set aside the respondent court's resolution of
November 8, 1983, its order of May 11, 1984, and (14) The right to take part in a peaceable
its resolution dated September 21, 1984. assembly to petition the Government for
Respondents were required to comment on the redress of grievances;
petition, which it did on November 9, 1985. A reply
was filed by petitioners on August 26, 1986. (15) The right to be free from involuntary
servitude in any form;
We find the petition meritorious and decide to give
it due course. (16) The rigth of the accused against
excessive bail;
At the heart of petitioners' complaint is Article 32
of the Civil Code which provides: (17) The rigth of the aaccused to be heard
by himself and counsel, to be informed of
ART. 32. Any public officer or employee, or the nature and cause of the accusation
any private individual who directly or against him, to have a speedy and public
indirectly obstructs, defeats, violates or in trial, to meet the witnesses face to face,
any manner impedes or impairs any of the and to have compulsory process to secure
following rights and liberties of another the attendance of witness in behalf;
person shall be liable to the latter for
damages: (18) Freedom from being compelled to be
a witness against ones self, or from being
(1) Freedom of religion; forced to confess guilt, or from being
induced by a promise of immunity or
(2) Freedom of speech; reward to make such confession, except
when the person confessing becomes a
(3) Freedom to write for the press or to State witness;
maintain a periodical publication;
(19) Freedom from excessive fines or cruel
(4) Freedom from arbitrary or illegal and unusual punishment, unless the same
detention; is imposed or inflicted in accordance with
a statute which has not been judicially
(5) Freedom of suffrage; declared unconstitutional; and

99
(20) Freedom of access to the courts. Respondents are members of the Armed
Forces of the Philippines. Their primary
In any of the cases referred to in this duty is to safeguard public safety and
article, whether or not the defendant's act order. The Constitution no less provides
or omission constitutes a criminal offense, that the President may call them "to
the against grieved party has a right to prevent or supress lawless violence,
commence an entirely separate and invasion, insurrection or rebellion, or
distinct civil action for damages, and for imminent danger thereof." (Constitution,
other relief. Such civil action shall proceed Article VII, Section 9).
independently of any criminal prosecution
(if the latter be instituted), and may be On January 17, 1981, the President issued
proved by a preponderance of evidence. Proclamation No. 2045 lifting martial law
but providing for the continued suspension
The indemnity shall include moral of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus
damages. Exemplary damages may also in view of the remaining dangers to the
be adjudicated. security of the nation. The proclamation
also provided "that the call to the Armed
The responsibility herein set forth is not Forces of the Philippines to prevent or
demandable from a judge unless his act or suppress lawless violence, insurrection
omission constitutes a violation of the rebellion and subversion shall continue to
Penal Code or other penal statute. be in force and effect."

It is obvious that the purpose of the above codal Petitioners allege in their complaint that
provision is to provide a sanction to the deeply their causes of action proceed from
cherished rights and freedoms enshrined in the respondent General Ver's order to Task
Constitution. Its message is clear; no man may Force Makabansa to launch pre-emptive
seek to violate those sacred rights with impunity. strikes against communist terrorist
In times of great upheaval or of social and political underground houses in Metro Manila.
stress, when the temptation is strongest to yield — Petitioners claim that this order and its
borrowing the words of Chief Justice Claudio subsequent implementation by elements
Teehankee — to the law of force rather than the of the task force resulted in the violation of
force of law, it is necessary to remind ourselves their constitutional rights against unlawful
that certain basic rights and liberties are searches, seizures and arrest, rights to
immutable and cannot be sacrificed to the counsel and to silence, and the right to
transient needs or imperious demands of the ruling property and that, therefore, respondents
power. The rule of law must prevail, or else liberty Ver and the named members of the task
will perish. Our commitment to democratic force should be held liable for damages.
principles and to the rule of law compels us to
reject the view which reduces law to nothing but But, by launching a pre-emptive strike
the expression of the will of the predominant power against communist terrorists, respondent
in the community. "Democracy cannot be a reign members of the armed forces merely
of progress, of liberty, of justice, unless the law is performed their official and constitutional
respected by him who makes it and by him for duties. To allow petitioners to recover from
whom it is made. Now this respect implies a respondents by way of damages for acts
maximum of faith, a minimum of Idealism. On performed in the exercise of such duties
going to the bottom of the matter, we discover that run contrary to the policy considerations to
life demands of us a certain residuum of sentiment shield respondents as public officers from
which is not derived from reason, but which reason undue interference with their duties and
nevertheless controls. 2 from potentially disabling threats of hability
(Aarlon v. Fitzgerald 102 S. Ct. 2731-1
Seeking to justify the dismissal of plaintiffs' Forbes v. Chuoco Tiaco, 16 Phil. 634), and
complaint, the respondents postulate the view that upon the necessity of protecting the
as public officers they are covered by the mantle performance of governmental and public
of state immunity from suit for acts done in the functions from being harassed unduly or
performance of official duties or function In support constantly interrupted by private suits
of said contention, respondents maintain that — (McCallan v. State, 35 Cal. App. 605;
Metran v. Paredes, 79 Phil. 819).

100
xxx xxx xxx roving commission untrammeled by any
constitutional restraint, to disregard or transgress
The immunity of public officers from upon the rights and liberties of the individual citizen
liability arising from the performance of enshrined in and protected by the Constitution.
their duties is now a settled jurisprudence The Constitution remains the supreme law of the
Alzua v. Johnson, 21 Phil. 308; Zulueta v. land to which all officials, high or low, civilian or
Nicolas, 102 Phil. 944; Spalding v. Vilas, military, owe obedience and allegiance at all times.
161 US 483; 40 L. Ed. 780, 16 S. Ct. 631;
Barr v. Mateo, 360; Butz v. Economon, 438 Article 32 of the Civil Code which renders any
US 478; 57 L. Ed. 2d 895, 98 S. Ct. 2894; public officer or employee or any private individual
Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 US 232; Forbes liable in damages for violating the Constitutional
v. Chuoco Tiaco, supra; Miller v. de Leune, rights and liberties of another, as enumerated
602 F. 2d 198; Sami v. US, 617 F. 2d 755). therein, does not exempt the respondents from
responsibility. Only judges are excluded from
Respondents-defendants who merely liability under the said article, provided their acts or
obeyed the lawful orders of the President omissions do not constitute a violation of the Penal
and his call for the suppression of the Code or other penal statute.
rebellion involving petitioners enjoy such
immunity from Suit.3 This is not to say that military authorities are
restrained from pursuing their assigned task or
We find respondents' invocation of the doctrine of carrying out their mission with vigor. We have no
state immunity from suit totally misplaced. The quarrel with their duty to protect the Republic from
cases invoked by respondents actually involved its enemies, whether of the left or of the right, or
acts done by officers in the performance of official from within or without, seeking to destroy or
duties written the ambit of their powers. As held in subvert our democratic institutions and imperil
Forbes, etc. vs. Chuoco Tiaco and Crossfield: 4 their very existence. What we are merely trying to
say is that in carrying out this task and mission,
No one can be held legally responsible in constitutional and legal safeguards must be
damages or otherwise for doing in a legal observed, otherwise, the very fabric of our faith will
manner what he had authority, under the start to unravel. In the battle of competing
law, to do. Therefore, if the Governor- Ideologies, the struggle for the mind is just as vital
General had authority, under the law to as the struggle of arms. The linchpin in that
deport or expel the defendants, and psychological struggle is faith in the rule of law.
circumstances justifying the deportation Once that faith is lost or compromised, the struggle
and the method of carrying it out are left to may well be abandoned.
him, then he cannot be held liable in
damages for the exercise of this power. We do not find merit in respondents' suggestion
Moreover, if the courts are without that plaintiffs' cause of action is barred by the
authority to interfere in any manner, for the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas
purpose of controlling or interfering with corpus. Respondents contend that "Petitioners
the exercise of the political powers vested cannot circumvent the suspension of the privilege
in the chief executive authority of the of the writ by resorting to a damage suit aimed at
Government, then it must follow that the the same purpose-judicial inquiry into the alleged
courts cannot intervene for the purpose of illegality of their detention. While the main relief
declaring that he is liable in damages for they ask by the present action is indemnification
the exercise of this authority. for alleged damages they suffered, their causes of
action are inextricably based on the same claim of
It may be that the respondents, as members of the violations of their constitutional rights that they
Armed Forces of the Philippines, were merely invoked in the habeas corpus case as grounds for
responding to their duty, as they claim, "to prevent release from detention. Were the petitioners
or suppress lawless violence, insurrection, allowed the present suit, the judicial inquiry barred
rebellion and subversion" in accordance with by the suspension of the privilege of the writ will
Proclamation No. 2054 of President Marcos, take place. The net result is that what the courts
despite the lifting of martial law on January 27, cannot do, i.e. override the suspension ordered by
1981, and in pursuance of such objective, to the President, petitioners will be able to do by the
launch pre-emptive strikes against alleged mere expedient of altering the title of their action."
communist terrorist underground houses. But this
cannot be construed as a blanket license or a

101
We do not agree. We find merit in petitioners' superior has been generally limited in its
contention that the suspension of the privilege of application to principal and agent or to master and
the writ of habeas corpus does not destroy servant (i.e. employer and employee) relationship.
petitioners' right and cause of action for damages No such relationship exists between superior
for illegal arrest and detention and other violations officers of the military and their subordinates.
of their constitutional rights. The suspension does
not render valid an otherwise illegal arrest or Be that as it may, however, the decisive factor in
detention. What is suspended is merely the right of this case, in our view, is the language of Article 32.
the individual to seek release from detention The law speaks of an officer or employee or
through the writ of habeas corpus as a speedy person 'directly' or "indirectly" responsible for the
means of obtaining his liberty. violation of the constitutional rights and liberties of
another. Thus, it is not the actor alone (i.e. the one
Moreover, as pointed out by petitioners, their right directly responsible) who must answer for
and cause of action for damages are explicitly damages under Article 32; the person indirectly
recognized in P.D. No. 1755 which amended responsible has also to answer for the damages or
Article 1146 of the Civil Code by adding the injury caused to the aggrieved party.
following to its text:
By this provision, the principle of accountability of
However, when the action (for injury to the public officials under the Constitution 5 acquires
rights of the plaintiff or for a quasi-delict) added meaning and asgilrnes a larger dimension.
arises from or out of any act, activity or No longer may a superior official relax his vigilance
conduct of any public officer involving the or abdicate his duty to supervise his subordinates,
exercise of powers or authority arising secure in the thought that he does not have to
from Martial Law including the arrest, answer for the transgressions committed by the
detention and/or trial of the plaintiff, the latter against the constitutionally protected rights
same must be brought within one (1) year. and liberties of the citizen. Part of the factors that
propelled people power in February 1986 was the
Petitioners have a point in contending that even widely held perception that the government was
assuming that the suspension of the privilege of callous or indifferent to, if not actually responsible
the writ of habeas corpus suspends petitioners' for, the rampant violations of human rights. While
right of action for damages for illegal arrest and it would certainly be go naive to expect that
detention, it does not and cannot suspend their violators of human rights would easily be deterred
rights and causes of action for injuries suffered by the prospect of facing damage suits, it should
because of respondents' confiscation of their nonetheless be made clear in no ones terms that
private belongings, the violation of their right to Article 32 of the Civil Code makes the persons who
remain silent and to counsel and their right to are directly, as well as indirectly, responsible for
protection against unreasonable searches and the transgression joint tortfeasors.
seizures and against torture and other cruel and
inhuman treatment. In the case at bar, the trial court dropped
defendants General Fabian Ver, Col. Fidel
However, we find it unnecessary to address the Singson, Col. Rolando Abadilla, Col. Gerardo
constitutional issue pressed upon us. On March Lantoria, Jr., Col. Galileo Kintanar, Col. Panfilo
25, 1986, President Corazon C. Aquino issued Lacson, Capt. Danilo Pizarro, lst Lt. Pedro Tango,
Proclamation No. 2, revoking Proclamation Nos. Lt. Romeo Ricardo and Lt. Ricardo Bacalso from
2045 and 2045-A and lifting the suspension of the the acts of their subordinates. Only Major Rodolfo
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. The question Aguinaldo and Master Sgt. Bienvenido Balaba
therefore has become moot and academic. were kept as defendants on the ground that they
alone 'have been specifically mentioned and
This brings us to the crucial issue raised in this Identified to have allegedly caused injuries on the
petition. May a superior officer under the notion of persons of some of the plaintiff which acts of
respondent superior be answerable for damages, alleged physical violence constitute a delict or
jointly and severally with his subordinates, to the wrong that gave rise to a cause of action. But such
person whose constitutional rights and liberties finding is not supported by the record, nor is it in
have been violated? accord with law and jurisprudence.

Respondents contend that the doctrine Firstly, it is wrong to at the plaintiffs' action for
of respondent superior is applicable to the case. damages 5 Section 1, Article 19. to 'acts of alleged
We agree. The doctrine of respondent physical violence" which constituted delict or

102
wrong. Article 32 clearly specifies as actionable The responsibility of the defendants, whether
the act of violating or in any manner impeding or direct or indirect, is amply set forth in the
impairing any of the constitutional rights and complaint. It is well established in our law and
liberties enumerated therein, among others — jurisprudence that a motion to dismiss on the
ground that the complaint states no cause of action
1. Freedom from arbitrary arrest or illegal must be based on what appears on the face of the
detention; complaint. 6 To determine the sufficiency of the
cause of action, only the facts alleged in the
2. The right against deprivation of property complaint, and no others, should be
without due process of law; considered. 7 For this purpose, the motion to
dismiss must hypothetically admit the truth of the
facts alleged in the complaint. 8
3. The right to be secure in one's person,
house, papers and effects against
unreasonable searches and seizures; Applying this test, it is difficult to justify the trial
court's ruling, dismissing for lack of cause of action
the complaint against all the defendants, except
4. The privacy of communication and
Major Rodolfo Aguinaldo and Master Sgt.
correspondence;
Bienvenido Balaba. The complaint contained
allegations against all the defendants which, if
5. Freedom from being compelled to be a admitted hypothetically, would be sufficient to
witness against one's self, or from being establish a cause or causes of action against all of
forced to confess guilt, or from being them under Article 32 of the Civil Code.
induced by a promise of immunity or
reward to make a confession, except when
This brings us to the last issue. Was the trial court
the person confessing becomes a state
correct in dismissing the complaint with respect to
witness.
plaintiffs Rogelio Aberca, Danilo de la Puente,
Marco Palo, Alan Jazminez, Alex Marcelino,
The complaint in this litigation alleges facts Elizabeth Protacio-Marcelino, Alfredo Mansos and
showing with abundant clarity and details, how Rolando Salutin, on the basis of the alleged failure
plaintiffs' constitutional rights and liberties of said plaintiffs to file a motion for reconsideration
mentioned in Article 32 of the Civil Code were of the court's resolution of November 8, 1983,
violated and impaired by defendants. The granting the respondent's motion to dismiss?
complaint speaks of, among others, searches
made without search warrants or based on
It is undisputed that a timely motion to set aside
irregularly issued or substantially defective
said order of November 8, 1983 was filed by
warrants; seizures and confiscation, without
'plaintiffs, through counsel. True, the motion was
proper receipts, of cash and personal effects
signed only by Atty. Joker P. Arroyo, counsel for
belonging to plaintiffs and other items of property
Benjamin Sesgulido; Atty. Antonio Rosales,
which were not subversive and illegal nor covered
counsel for Edwin Lopez and Manuel Martin
by the search warrants; arrest and detention of
Guzman; Atty. Pedro B. Ella, Jr., counsel for
plaintiffs without warrant or under irregular,
Nestor Bodino and Carlos Palma; Atty. Arno V.
improper and illegal circumstances; detention of
Sanidad, counsel for Arturo Tabara; Atty. Felicitas
plaintiffs at several undisclosed places of
S. Aquino, counsel for Joseph Olayer; and Atty.
'safehouses" where they were kept
Alexander Padilla, counsel for Rodolfo Benosa.
incommunicado and subjected to physical and
psychological torture and other inhuman,
degrading and brutal treatment for the purpose of But the body of the motion itself clearly indicated
extracting incriminatory statements. The complaint that the motion was filed on behalf of all the
contains a detailed recital of abuses perpetrated plaintiffs. And this must have been also the
upon the plaintiffs violative of their constitutional understanding of defendants' counsel himself for
rights. when he filed his comment on the motion, he
furnished copies thereof, not just to the lawyers
who signed the motion, but to all the lawyers of
Secondly, neither can it be said that only those
plaintiffs, to wit: Attys. Jose Diokno, Procopio
shown to have participated "directly" should be
Beltran, Rene Sarmiento, Efren Mercado, Augusto
held liable. Article 32 of the Civil Code
Sanchez, Antonio Rosales, Pedro Efla Jr., Arno
encompasses within the ambit of its provisions
Sanidad, Alexander Padilla, Joker Arroyo, Rene
those directly, as well as indirectly, responsible for
Saguisag, Ramon Esguerra and Felicitas S.
its violation.
Aquino.

103
In filing the motion to set aside the resolution of violations of their constitutional rights and liberties.
November 8, 1983, the signing attorneys did so on At the same time it rejects the automatic
behalf of all the plaintiff. They needed no specific application of the principle of respondeat
authority to do that. The authority of an attorney to superior or command responsibility that would
appear for and in behalf of a party can be hold a superior officer jointly and severally
assumed, unless questioned or challenged by the accountable for damages, including moral and
adverse party or the party concerned, which was exemplary, with his subordinates who committed
never done in this case. Thus, it was grave abuse such transgressions. However, the judgment gives
on the part of respondent judge to take it upon the caveat that a superior officer must not abdicate
himself to rule that the motion to set aside the his duty to properly supervise his subordinates for
order of November 8, 1953 dismissing the he runs the risk of being held responsible for gross
complaint was filed only by some of the plaintiffs, negligence and of being held under the cited
when by its very language it was clearly intended provision of the Civil Code as indirectly and
to be filed by and for the benefit of all of them. It is solidarily accountable with the tortfeasor.
obvious that the respondent judge took umbrage
under a contrived technicality to declare that the The rationale for this rule of law was best
dismissal of the complaint had already become expressed by Brandeis in wise: "In a government
final with respect to some of the plaintiffs whose of laws, existence of the government be imperilled
lawyers did not sign the motion for following it fails to observe the law scrupulously.
reconsideration. Such action tainted with legal Our government is the potent omnipresent
infirmity cannot be sanctioned. teacher. For good or ill, it teaches the whole people
by example. Crime is contagious. If the
Accordingly, we grant the petition and annul and government becomes the law breaker, it breeds
set aside the resolution of the respondent court, contempt for the law, it invites every man to
dated November 8, 1983, its order dated May 11, become a law unto himself, it invites anarchy. To
1984 and its resolution dated September 21, 1984. declare that in the administration of criminal law
Let the case be remanded to the respondent court the end justifies the means ... would bring terrible
for further proceedings. With costs against private retribution." 1
respondents.
As the writer stress in Hildawa vs. Enrile 2 Which
SO ORDERED. Was an action to enjoin the operations of the
dreaded secret marshals during the past regime,
Fernan, Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Cruz, Paras, 'In a democratic state, you don't stoop to the level
Feliciano, Gancayco, Bidin, Sarmiento, Cortes and of criminals. If we stoop to what they do, then we're
Griño-Aquino, JJ., concur. no better than they ... there would be no difference.
... The Supreme Court stands as the guarantor of
Gutierrez, Jr., J., concur in the result. the Constitutional and human rights of all persons
within its jurisdiction and cannot abdicate its basic
role under the Constitution that these rights be
Padilla, J., took no part.
respected and enforced. The spirit and letter of the
Constitution negates as contrary to the basic
Separate Opinions precepts of human rights and freedom that a
person's life be snuffed out without due process in
TEEHANKEE, C.J., concurring: a split second even if he is caught in flagrante
delicto — unless it was caned for as an act of self-
The Court's judgment at bar makes clear that all defense by the law agents using reasonable
persons, be they public officers or employees, or means to prevent or repel an unlawful aggression
members of the military or police force or private on the part of the deceased.
individuals who directly or indirectly obstruct,
defeat, violate or in any manner impede or impair Needless to say, the criminal acts of the "Sparrow
the constitutional rights and civil liberties of Units" or death squads of the NPA which have
another person, stand liable and may be sued in infutrated the cities and suburbs and performed
court for damages as provided in Art. 32 of the Civil their despicable killings of innocent civilians and
Code. military and police officers constitute an equally
perverse violation of the sanctity of human life and
The case at bar specifically upholds and reinstates must be severely condemned by all who adhere
the civil action for damages filed in the court below tothe Rule of the Law.
by petitioners-plaintiffs for illegal searches
conducted by military personnel and other

104
It need only be pointed out that one of the first acts Hospitals, having undertaken one of mankind’s
of the present government under President most important and delicate endeavors, must
Corazon C. Aquino after her assumption of office assume the grave responsibility of pursuing it with
in February, 1986 was to file our government's appropriate care. The care and service dispensed
ratification and access to all human rights through this high trust, however technical, complex
instruments adopted under the auspices of the and esoteric its character may be, must meet
United Nations, declaring thereby the standards of responsibility commensurate with the
government's commitment to observe the undertaking to preserve and protect the health,
precepts of the United Nations Charter and the and indeed, the very lives of those placed in the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights. More than hospital’s keeping.1
this, pursuant to our Constitution which the people
decisively ratified on February 2, 1987, the Assailed in these three consolidated petitions for
independent office of the Commission on Human review on certiorari is the Court of Appeals’
Rights hats been created and organized with Decision2 dated September 6, 1996 in CA-G.R.
ample powers to investigate human rights CV No. 42062 and CA-G.R. SP No. 32198
violations and take remedial measures against all affirming with modification the Decision3dated
such violations by the military as well as by the March 17, 1993 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC),
civilian groups. Branch 96, Quezon City in Civil Case No. Q-43322
and nullifying its Order dated September 21, 1993.

Republic of the Philippines The facts, as culled from the records, are:
SUPREME COURT
Manila On April 4, 1984, Natividad Agana was rushed to
the Medical City General Hospital (Medical City
FIRST DIVISION Hospital) because of difficulty of bowel movement
and bloody anal discharge. After a series of
G.R. No. 126297 January 31, 2007 medical examinations, Dr. Miguel Ampil, petitioner
in G.R. No. 127590, diagnosed her to be suffering
PROFESSIONAL SERVICES, INC., Petitioner, from "cancer of the sigmoid."
vs.
NATIVIDAD and ENRIQUE On April 11, 1984, Dr. Ampil, assisted by the
AGANA, Respondents. medical staff4 of the Medical City Hospital,
performed an anterior resection surgery on
x-----------------------x Natividad. He found that the malignancy in her
sigmoid area had spread on her left ovary,
necessitating the removal of certain portions of it.
G.R. No. 126467 January 31, 2007
Thus, Dr. Ampil obtained the consent of
Natividad’s husband, Enrique Agana, to permit Dr.
NATIVIDAD (Substituted by her children Juan Fuentes, respondent in G.R. No. 126467, to
MARCELINO AGANA III, ENRIQUE AGANA, perform hysterectomy on her.
JR., EMMA AGANA ANDAYA, JESUS AGANA,
and RAYMUND AGANA) and ENRIQUE
After Dr. Fuentes had completed the
AGANA, Petitioners,
hysterectomy, Dr. Ampil took over, completed the
vs.
operation and closed the incision.
JUAN FUENTES, Respondent.
However, the operation appeared to be flawed. In
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - x
the corresponding Record of Operation dated April
11, 1984, the attending nurses entered these
G.R. No. 127590 January 31, 2007 remarks:

MIGUEL AMPIL, Petitioner, "sponge count lacking 2


vs.
NATIVIDAD AGANA and ENRIQUE
"announced to surgeon searched (sic) done but to
AGANA, Respondents.
no avail continue for closure."
DECISION
On April 24, 1984, Natividad was released from the
hospital. Her hospital and medical bills, including
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.: the doctors’ fees, amounted to P60,000.00.

105
After a couple of days, Natividad complained of On February 16, 1986, pending the outcome of the
excruciating pain in her anal region. She consulted above cases, Natividad died and was duly
both Dr. Ampil and Dr. Fuentes about it. They told substituted by her above-named children (the
her that the pain was the natural consequence of Aganas).
the surgery. Dr. Ampil then recommended that she
consult an oncologist to examine the cancerous On March 17, 1993, the RTC rendered its Decision
nodes which were not removed during the in favor of the Aganas, finding PSI, Dr. Ampil and
operation. Dr. Fuentes liable for negligence and malpractice,
the decretal part of which reads:
On May 9, 1984, Natividad, accompanied by her
husband, went to the United States to seek further WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered for
treatment. After four months of consultations and the plaintiffs ordering the defendants
laboratory examinations, Natividad was told she PROFESSIONAL SERVICES, INC., DR. MIGUEL
was free of cancer. Hence, she was advised to AMPIL and DR. JUAN FUENTES to pay to the
return to the Philippines. plaintiffs, jointly and severally, except in respect of
the award for exemplary damages and the interest
On August 31, 1984, Natividad flew back to the thereon which are the liabilities of defendants Dr.
Philippines, still suffering from pains. Two weeks Ampil and Dr. Fuentes only, as follows:
thereafter, her daughter found a piece of gauze
protruding from her vagina. Upon being informed 1. As actual damages, the following
about it, Dr. Ampil proceeded to her house where amounts:
he managed to extract by hand a piece of gauze
measuring 1.5 inches in width. He then assured a. The equivalent in Philippine
her that the pains would soon vanish. Currency of the total of US$19,900.00
at the rate of P21.60-US$1.00, as
Dr. Ampil’s assurance did not come true. Instead, reimbursement of actual expenses
the pains intensified, prompting Natividad to seek incurred in the United States of
treatment at the Polymedic General Hospital. America;
While confined there, Dr. Ramon Gutierrez
detected the presence of another foreign object in b. The sum of P4,800.00 as travel
her vagina -- a foul-smelling gauze measuring 1.5 taxes of plaintiffs and their physician
inches in width which badly infected her vaginal daughter;
vault. A recto-vaginal fistula had formed in her
reproductive organs which forced stool to excrete
c. The total sum of P45,802.50,
through the vagina. Another surgical operation
representing the cost of hospitalization
was needed to remedy the damage. Thus, in
at Polymedic Hospital, medical fees,
October 1984, Natividad underwent another
and cost of the saline solution;
surgery.
2. As moral damages, the sum of
On November 12, 1984, Natividad and her
P2,000,000.00;
husband filed with the RTC, Branch 96, Quezon
City a complaint for damages against the
Professional Services, Inc. (PSI), owner of the 3. As exemplary damages, the sum of
Medical City Hospital, Dr. Ampil, and Dr. Fuentes, P300,000.00;
docketed as Civil Case No. Q-43322. They alleged
that the latter are liable for negligence for leaving 4. As attorney’s fees, the sum of
two pieces of gauze inside Natividad’s body and P250,000.00;
malpractice for concealing their acts of negligence.
5. Legal interest on items 1 (a), (b), and (c);
Meanwhile, Enrique Agana also filed with the 2; and 3 hereinabove, from date of filing of
Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) an the complaint until full payment; and
administrative complaint for gross negligence and
malpractice against Dr. Ampil and Dr. Fuentes, 6. Costs of suit.
docketed as Administrative Case No. 1690. The
PRC Board of Medicine heard the case only with SO ORDERED.
respect to Dr. Fuentes because it failed to acquire
jurisdiction over Dr. Ampil who was then in the
United States.

106
Aggrieved, PSI, Dr. Fuentes and Dr. Ampil 32198 is hereby GRANTED and the challenged
interposed an appeal to the Court of Appeals, order of the respondent judge dated September
docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 42062. 21, 1993, as well as the alias writ of execution
issued pursuant thereto are hereby NULLIFIED
Incidentally, on April 3, 1993, the Aganas filed with and SET ASIDE. The bond posted by the petitioner
the RTC a motion for a partial execution of its in connection with the writ of preliminary injunction
Decision, which was granted in an Order dated issued by this Court on November 29, 1993 is
May 11, 1993. Thereafter, the sheriff levied upon hereby cancelled.
certain properties of Dr. Ampil and sold them for
P451,275.00 and delivered the amount to the Costs against defendants-appellants Dr. Miguel
Aganas. Ampil and Professional Services, Inc.

Following their receipt of the money, the Aganas SO ORDERED.


entered into an agreement with PSI and Dr.
Fuentes to indefinitely suspend any further Only Dr. Ampil filed a motion for reconsideration,
execution of the RTC Decision. However, not long but it was denied in a Resolution7 dated December
thereafter, the Aganas again filed a motion for an 19, 1996.
alias writ of execution against the properties of PSI
and Dr. Fuentes. On September 21, 1993, the Hence, the instant consolidated petitions.
RTC granted the motion and issued the
corresponding writ, prompting Dr. Fuentes to file
In G.R. No. 126297, PSI alleged in its petition that
with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari
the Court of Appeals erred in holding that: (1) it is
and prohibition, with prayer for preliminary
estopped from raising the defense that Dr. Ampil
injunction, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 32198.
is not its employee; (2) it is solidarily liable with Dr.
During its pendency, the Court of Appeals issued
Ampil; and (3) it is not entitled to its counterclaim
a Resolution5 dated October 29, 1993 granting Dr.
against the Aganas. PSI contends that Dr. Ampil is
Fuentes’ prayer for injunctive relief.
not its employee, but a mere consultant or
independent contractor. As such, he alone should
On January 24, 1994, CA-G.R. SP No. 32198 was answer for his negligence.
consolidated with CA-G.R. CV No. 42062.
In G.R. No. 126467, the Aganas maintain that the
Meanwhile, on January 23, 1995, the PRC Board Court of Appeals erred in finding that Dr. Fuentes
of Medicine rendered its Decision6 in is not guilty of negligence or medical malpractice,
Administrative Case No. 1690 dismissing the case invoking the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. They
against Dr. Fuentes. The Board held that the contend that the pieces of gauze are prima facie
prosecution failed to show that Dr. Fuentes was proofs that the operating surgeons have been
the one who left the two pieces of gauze inside negligent.
Natividad’s body; and that he concealed such fact
from Natividad.
Finally, in G.R. No. 127590, Dr. Ampil asserts that
the Court of Appeals erred in finding him liable for
On September 6, 1996, the Court of Appeals negligence and malpractice sans evidence that he
rendered its Decision jointly disposing of CA-G.R. left the two pieces of gauze in Natividad’s vagina.
CV No. 42062 and CA-G.R. SP No. 32198, thus: He pointed to other probable causes, such as: (1)
it was Dr. Fuentes who used gauzes in performing
WHEREFORE, except for the modification that the the hysterectomy; (2) the attending nurses’ failure
case against defendant-appellant Dr. Juan to properly count the gauzes used during surgery;
Fuentes is hereby DISMISSED, and with the and (3) the medical intervention of the American
pronouncement that defendant-appellant Dr. doctors who examined Natividad in the United
Miguel Ampil is liable to reimburse defendant- States of America.
appellant Professional Services, Inc., whatever
amount the latter will pay or had paid to the For our resolution are these three vital issues: first,
plaintiffs-appellees, the decision appealed from is whether the Court of Appeals erred in holding Dr.
hereby AFFIRMED and the instant appeal Ampil liable for negligence and malpractice;
DISMISSED. second, whether the Court of Appeals erred in
absolving Dr. Fuentes of any liability; and third,
Concomitant with the above, the petition for whether PSI may be held solidarily liable for the
certiorari and prohibition filed by herein defendant- negligence of Dr. Ampil.
appellant Dr. Juan Fuentes in CA-G.R. SP No.

107
I - G.R. No. 127590 so inconsistent with due care as to raise an
inference of negligence. There are even legions of
Whether the Court of Appeals Erred in Holding Dr. authorities to the effect that such act is negligence
Ampil per se.9

Liable for Negligence and Malpractice. Of course, the Court is not blind to the reality that
there are times when danger to a patient’s life
Dr. Ampil, in an attempt to absolve himself, gears precludes a surgeon from further searching
the Court’s attention to other possible causes of missing sponges or foreign objects left in the body.
Natividad’s detriment. He argues that the Court But this does not leave him free from any
should not discount either of the following obligation. Even if it has been shown that a
possibilities: first, Dr. Fuentes left the gauzes in surgeon was required by the urgent necessities of
Natividad’s body after performing hysterectomy; the case to leave a sponge in his patient’s
second, the attending nurses erred in counting the abdomen, because of the dangers attendant upon
gauzes; and third, the American doctors were the delay, still, it is his legal duty to so inform his
ones who placed the gauzes in Natividad’s body. patient within a reasonable time thereafter by
advising her of what he had been compelled to do.
This is in order that she might seek relief from the
Dr. Ampil’s arguments are purely conjectural and
effects of the foreign object left in her body as her
without basis. Records show that he did not
condition might permit. The ruling in Smith v.
present any evidence to prove that the American
Zeagler10 is explicit, thus:
doctors were the ones who put or left the gauzes
in Natividad’s body. Neither did he submit
evidence to rebut the correctness of the record of The removal of all sponges used is part of a
operation, particularly the number of gauzes used. surgical operation, and when a physician or
As to the alleged negligence of Dr. Fuentes, we surgeon fails to remove a sponge he has placed in
are mindful that Dr. Ampil examined his (Dr. his patient’s body that should be removed as part
Fuentes’) work and found it in order. of the operation, he thereby leaves his operation
uncompleted and creates a new condition which
imposes upon him the legal duty of calling the new
The glaring truth is that all the major
condition to his patient’s attention, and
circumstances, taken together, as specified by the
endeavoring with the means he has at hand to
Court of Appeals, directly point to Dr. Ampil as the
minimize and avoid untoward results likely to
negligent party, thus:
ensue therefrom.
First, it is not disputed that the surgeons
Here, Dr. Ampil did not inform Natividad about the
used gauzes as sponges to control the
missing two pieces of gauze. Worse, he even
bleeding of the patient during the surgical
misled her that the pain she was experiencing was
operation.
the ordinary consequence of her operation. Had
he been more candid, Natividad could have taken
Second, immediately after the operation, the immediate and appropriate medical remedy to
the nurses who assisted in the surgery remove the gauzes from her body. To our mind,
noted in their report that the ‘sponge count what was initially an act of negligence by Dr. Ampil
(was) lacking 2’; that such anomaly was has ripened into a deliberate wrongful act of
‘announced to surgeon’ and that a ‘search deceiving his patient.
was done but to no avail’ prompting Dr.
Ampil to ‘continue for closure’ x x x.
This is a clear case of medical malpractice or more
appropriately, medical negligence. To successfully
Third, after the operation, two (2) gauzes pursue this kind of case, a patient must only prove
were extracted from the same spot of the that a health care provider either failed to do
body of Mrs. Agana where the surgery was something which a reasonably prudent health care
performed. provider would have done, or that he did
something that a reasonably prudent provider
An operation requiring the placing of sponges in would not have done; and that failure or action
the incision is not complete until the sponges are caused injury to the patient.11 Simply put, the
properly removed, and it is settled that the leaving elements are duty, breach, injury and proximate
of sponges or other foreign substances in the causation. Dr, Ampil, as the lead surgeon, had the
wound after the incision has been closed is at least duty to remove all foreign objects, such as gauzes,
prima facie negligence by the operating from Natividad’s body before closure of the
surgeon.8 To put it simply, such act is considered

108
incision. When he failed to do so, it was his duty to the absence of explanation by the defendant. Of
inform Natividad about it. Dr. Ampil breached both the foregoing requisites, the most instrumental is
duties. Such breach caused injury to Natividad, the "control and management of the thing which
necessitating her further examination by American caused the injury."15
doctors and another surgery. That Dr. Ampil’s
negligence is the proximate cause12 of Natividad’s We find the element of "control and management
injury could be traced from his act of closing the of the thing which caused the injury" to be wanting.
incision despite the information given by the Hence, the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur will not lie.
attending nurses that two pieces of gauze were still
missing. That they were later on extracted from It was duly established that Dr. Ampil was the lead
Natividad’s vagina established the causal link surgeon during the operation of Natividad. He
between Dr. Ampil’s negligence and the injury. requested the assistance of Dr. Fuentes only to
And what further aggravated such injury was his perform hysterectomy when he (Dr. Ampil) found
deliberate concealment of the missing gauzes that the malignancy in her sigmoid area had
from the knowledge of Natividad and her family. spread to her left ovary. Dr. Fuentes performed the
surgery and thereafter reported and showed his
II - G.R. No. 126467 work to Dr. Ampil. The latter examined it and
finding everything to be in order, allowed Dr.
Whether the Court of Appeals Erred in Absolving Fuentes to leave the operating room. Dr. Ampil
then resumed operating on Natividad. He was
Dr. Fuentes of any Liability about to finish the procedure when the attending
nurses informed him that two pieces of gauze were
The Aganas assailed the dismissal by the trial missing. A "diligent search" was conducted, but
court of the case against Dr. Fuentes on the the misplaced gauzes were not found. Dr. Ampil
ground that it is contrary to the doctrine of res ipsa then directed that the incision be closed. During
loquitur. According to them, the fact that the two this entire period, Dr. Fuentes was no longer in the
pieces of gauze were left inside Natividad’s body operating room and had, in fact, left the hospital.
is a prima facie evidence of Dr. Fuentes’
negligence. Under the "Captain of the Ship" rule, the operating
surgeon is the person in complete charge of the
We are not convinced. surgery room and all personnel connected with the
operation. Their duty is to obey his orders.16 As
stated before, Dr. Ampil was the lead surgeon. In
Literally, res ipsa loquitur means "the thing speaks
other words, he was the "Captain of the Ship." That
for itself." It is the rule that the fact of the
he discharged such role is evident from his
occurrence of an injury, taken with the surrounding
following conduct: (1) calling Dr. Fuentes to
circumstances, may permit an inference or raise a
perform a hysterectomy; (2) examining the work of
presumption of negligence, or make out a
Dr. Fuentes and finding it in order; (3) granting Dr.
plaintiff’s prima facie case, and present a question
Fuentes’ permission to leave; and (4) ordering the
of fact for defendant to meet with an
closure of the incision. To our mind, it was this act
explanation.13 Stated differently, where the thing
of ordering the closure of the incision
which caused the injury, without the fault of the
notwithstanding that two pieces of gauze remained
injured, is under the exclusive control of the
unaccounted for, that caused injury to Natividad’s
defendant and the injury is such that it should not
body. Clearly, the control and management of the
have occurred if he, having such control used
thing which caused the injury was in the hands of
proper care, it affords reasonable evidence, in the
Dr. Ampil, not Dr. Fuentes.
absence of explanation that the injury arose from
the defendant’s want of care, and the burden of
proof is shifted to him to establish that he has In this jurisdiction, res ipsa loquitur is not a rule of
observed due care and diligence.14 substantive law, hence, does not per se create or
constitute an independent or separate ground of
liability, being a mere evidentiary rule.17 In other
From the foregoing statements of the rule, the
words, mere invocation and application of the
requisites for the applicability of the doctrine of res
doctrine does not dispense with the requirement of
ipsa loquitur are: (1) the occurrence of an injury;
proof of negligence. Here, the negligence was
(2) the thing which caused the injury was under the
proven to have been committed by Dr. Ampil and
control and management of the defendant; (3) the
not by Dr. Fuentes.
occurrence was such that in the ordinary course of
things, would not have happened if those who had
control or management used proper care; and (4) III - G.R. No. 126297

109
Whether PSI Is Liable for the Negligence of Dr. Employers shall be liable for the damages caused
Ampil by their employees and household helpers acting
within the scope of their assigned tasks even
The third issue necessitates a glimpse at the though the former are not engaged in any business
historical development of hospitals and the or industry.
resulting theories concerning their liability for the
negligence of physicians. x x x
x x x
Until the mid-nineteenth century, hospitals were
generally charitable institutions, providing medical The responsibility treated of in this article shall
services to the lowest classes of society, without cease when the persons herein mentioned prove
regard for a patient’s ability to pay.18 Those who that they observed all the diligence of a good father
could afford medical treatment were usually of a family to prevent damage.
treated at home by their doctors.19 However, the
days of house calls and philanthropic health care A prominent civilist commented that professionals
are over. The modern health care industry engaged by an employer, such as physicians,
continues to distance itself from its charitable past dentists, and pharmacists, are not "employees"
and has experienced a significant conversion from under this article because the manner in which
a not-for-profit health care to for-profit hospital they perform their work is not within the control of
businesses. Consequently, significant changes in the latter (employer). In other words, professionals
health law have accompanied the business- are considered personally liable for the fault or
related changes in the hospital industry. One negligence they commit in the discharge of their
important legal change is an increase in hospital duties, and their employer cannot be held liable for
liability for medical malpractice. Many courts now such fault or negligence. In the context of the
allow claims for hospital vicarious liability under present case, "a hospital cannot be held liable for
the theories of respondeat superior, apparent the fault or negligence of a physician or surgeon in
authority, ostensible authority, or agency by the treatment or operation of patients."21
estoppel. 20
The foregoing view is grounded on the traditional
In this jurisdiction, the statute governing liability for notion that the professional status and the very
negligent acts is Article 2176 of the Civil Code, nature of the physician’s calling preclude him from
which reads: being classed as an agent or employee of a
hospital, whenever he acts in a professional
Art. 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes capacity.22 It has been said that medical practice
damage to another, there being fault or strictly involves highly developed and specialized
negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. knowledge,23 such that physicians are generally
Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing free to exercise their own skill and judgment in
contractual relation between the parties, is called rendering medical services sans
a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of interference.24 Hence, when a doctor practices
this Chapter. medicine in a hospital setting, the hospital and its
employees are deemed to subserve him in his
A derivative of this provision is Article 2180, the ministrations to the patient and his actions are of
rule governing vicarious liability under the doctrine his own responsibility.25
of respondeat superior, thus:
The case of Schloendorff v. Society of New York
ART. 2180. The obligation imposed by Article Hospital26 was then considered an authority for this
2176 is demandable not only for one’s own acts or view. The "Schloendorff doctrine" regards a
omissions, but also for those of persons for whom physician, even if employed by a hospital, as an
one is responsible. independent contractor because of the skill he
exercises and the lack of control exerted over his
x x x work. Under this doctrine, hospitals are exempt
x x x from the application of the respondeat superior
principle for fault or negligence committed by
physicians in the discharge of their profession.
The owners and managers of an establishment or
enterprise are likewise responsible for damages
caused by their employees in the service of the However, the efficacy of the foregoing doctrine has
branches in which the latter are employed or on weakened with the significant developments in
the occasion of their functions. medical care. Courts came to realize that modern

110
hospitals are increasingly taking active role in hospital, and/or for the privilege of admitting
supplying and regulating medical care to patients. patients into the hospital. In addition to these, the
No longer were a hospital’s functions limited to physician’s performance as a specialist is
furnishing room, food, facilities for treatment and generally evaluated by a peer review committee
operation, and attendants for its patients. Thus, in on the basis of mortality and morbidity statistics,
Bing v. Thunig,27 the New York Court of Appeals and feedback from patients, nurses, interns and
deviated from the Schloendorff doctrine, noting residents. A consultant remiss in his duties, or a
that modern hospitals actually do far more than consultant who regularly falls short of the minimum
provide facilities for treatment. Rather, they standards acceptable to the hospital or its peer
regularly employ, on a salaried basis, a large staff review committee, is normally politely terminated.
of physicians, interns, nurses, administrative and
manual workers. They charge patients for medical In other words, private hospitals, hire, fire and
care and treatment, even collecting for such exercise real control over their attending and
services through legal action, if necessary. The visiting ‘consultant’ staff. While ‘consultants’ are
court then concluded that there is no reason to not, technically employees, x x x, the control
exempt hospitals from the universal rule of exercised, the hiring, and the right to terminate
respondeat superior. consultants all fulfill the important hallmarks of an
employer-employee relationship, with the
In our shores, the nature of the relationship exception of the payment of wages. In assessing
between the hospital and the physicians is whether such a relationship in fact exists, the
rendered inconsequential in view of our control test is determining. Accordingly, on the
categorical pronouncement in Ramos v. Court of basis of the foregoing, we rule that for the purpose
Appeals28 that for purposes of apportioning of allocating responsibility in medical negligence
responsibility in medical negligence cases, an cases, an employer-employee relationship in
employer-employee relationship in effect exists effect exists between hospitals and their attending
between hospitals and their attending and visiting and visiting physicians. "
physicians. This Court held:
But the Ramos pronouncement is not our only
"We now discuss the responsibility of the hospital basis in sustaining PSI’s liability. Its liability is also
in this particular incident. The unique practice anchored upon the agency principle of apparent
(among private hospitals) of filling up specialist authority or agency by estoppel and the doctrine of
staff with attending and visiting "consultants," who corporate negligence which have gained
are allegedly not hospital employees, presents acceptance in the determination of a hospital’s
problems in apportioning responsibility for liability for negligent acts of health professionals.
negligence in medical malpractice cases. The present case serves as a perfect platform to
However, the difficulty is more apparent than real. test the applicability of these doctrines, thus,
enriching our jurisprudence.
In the first place, hospitals exercise significant
control in the hiring and firing of consultants and in Apparent authority, or what is sometimes referred
the conduct of their work within the hospital to as the "holding out" theory, or doctrine of
premises. Doctors who apply for ‘consultant’ slots, ostensible agency or agency by estoppel,29 has its
visiting or attending, are required to submit proof origin from the law of agency. It imposes liability,
of completion of residency, their educational not as the result of the reality of a contractual
qualifications, generally, evidence of accreditation relationship, but rather because of the actions of a
by the appropriate board (diplomate), evidence of principal or an employer in somehow misleading
fellowship in most cases, and references. These the public into believing that the relationship or the
requirements are carefully scrutinized by members authority exists.30 The concept is essentially one of
of the hospital administration or by a review estoppel and has been explained in this manner:
committee set up by the hospital who either accept
or reject the application. x x x. "The principal is bound by the acts of his agent with
the apparent authority which he knowingly permits
After a physician is accepted, either as a visiting or the agent to assume, or which he holds the agent
attending consultant, he is normally required to out to the public as possessing. The question in
attend clinico-pathological conferences, conduct every case is whether the principal has by his
bedside rounds for clerks, interns and residents, voluntary act placed the agent in such a situation
moderate grand rounds and patient audits and that a person of ordinary prudence, conversant
perform other tasks and responsibilities, for the with business usages and the nature of the
privilege of being able to maintain a clinic in the particular business, is justified in presuming that

111
such agent has authority to perform the particular specialty in its lobby directory, as in the case
act in question.31 herein. The high costs of today’s medical and
health care should at least exact on the hospital
The applicability of apparent authority in the field greater, if not broader, legal responsibility for the
of hospital liability was upheld long time ago in conduct of treatment and surgery within its facility
Irving v. Doctor Hospital of Lake Worth, by its accredited physician or surgeon, regardless
Inc.32 There, it was explicitly stated that "there of whether he is independent or employed."33
does not appear to be any rational basis for
excluding the concept of apparent authority from The wisdom of the foregoing ratiocination is easy
the field of hospital liability." Thus, in cases where to discern. Corporate entities, like PSI, are capable
it can be shown that a hospital, by its actions, has of acting only through other individuals, such as
held out a particular physician as its agent and/or physicians. If these accredited physicians do their
employee and that a patient has accepted job well, the hospital succeeds in its mission of
treatment from that physician in the reasonable offering quality medical services and thus profits
belief that it is being rendered in behalf of the financially. Logically, where negligence mars the
hospital, then the hospital will be liable for the quality of its services, the hospital should not be
physician’s negligence. allowed to escape liability for the acts of its
ostensible agents.
Our jurisdiction recognizes the concept of an
agency by implication or estoppel. Article 1869 of We now proceed to the doctrine of corporate
the Civil Code reads: negligence or corporate responsibility.

ART. 1869. Agency may be express, or implied One allegation in the complaint in Civil Case No.
from the acts of the principal, from his silence or Q-43332 for negligence and malpractice is that
lack of action, or his failure to repudiate the PSI as owner, operator and manager of Medical
agency, knowing that another person is acting on City Hospital, "did not perform the necessary
his behalf without authority. supervision nor exercise diligent efforts in the
supervision of Drs. Ampil and Fuentes and its
In this case, PSI publicly displays in the lobby of nursing staff, resident doctors, and medical interns
the Medical City Hospital the names and who assisted Drs. Ampil and Fuentes in the
specializations of the physicians associated or performance of their duties as
accredited by it, including those of Dr. Ampil and surgeons."34 Premised on the doctrine of corporate
Dr. Fuentes. We concur with the Court of Appeals’ negligence, the trial court held that PSI is directly
conclusion that it "is now estopped from passing liable for such breach of duty.
all the blame to the physicians whose names it
proudly paraded in the public directory leading the We agree with the trial court.
public to believe that it vouched for their skill and
competence." Indeed, PSI’s act is tantamount to Recent years have seen the doctrine of corporate
holding out to the public that Medical City Hospital, negligence as the judicial answer to the problem of
through its accredited physicians, offers quality allocating hospital’s liability for the negligent acts
health care services. By accrediting Dr. Ampil and of health practitioners, absent facts to support the
Dr. Fuentes and publicly advertising their application of respondeat superior or apparent
qualifications, the hospital created the impression authority. Its formulation proceeds from the
that they were its agents, authorized to perform judiciary’s acknowledgment that in these modern
medical or surgical services for its patients. As times, the duty of providing quality medical service
expected, these patients, Natividad being one of is no longer the sole prerogative and responsibility
them, accepted the services on the reasonable of the physician. The modern hospitals have
belief that such were being rendered by the changed structure. Hospitals now tend to organize
hospital or its employees, agents, or servants. The a highly professional medical staff whose
trial court correctly pointed out: competence and performance need to be
monitored by the hospitals commensurate with
x x x regardless of the education and status in life their inherent responsibility to provide quality
of the patient, he ought not be burdened with the medical care.35
defense of absence of employer-employee
relationship between the hospital and the The doctrine has its genesis in Darling v.
independent physician whose name and Charleston Community Hospital.36 There, the
competence are certainly certified to the general Supreme Court of Illinois held that "the jury could
public by the hospital’s act of listing him and his have found a hospital negligent, inter alia, in failing

112
to have a sufficient number of trained nurses It is worthy to note that Dr. Ampil and Dr. Fuentes
attending the patient; failing to require a operated on Natividad with the assistance of the
consultation with or examination by members of Medical City Hospital’s staff, composed of resident
the hospital staff; and failing to review the doctors, nurses, and interns. As such, it is
treatment rendered to the patient." On the basis of reasonable to conclude that PSI, as the operator
Darling, other jurisdictions held that a hospital’s of the hospital, has actual or constructive
corporate negligence extends to permitting a knowledge of the procedures carried out,
physician known to be incompetent to practice at particularly the report of the attending nurses that
the hospital.37 With the passage of time, more the two pieces of gauze were missing. In Fridena
duties were expected from hospitals, among them: v. Evans,41 it was held that a corporation is bound
(1) the use of reasonable care in the maintenance by the knowledge acquired by or notice given to its
of safe and adequate facilities and equipment; (2) agents or officers within the scope of their authority
the selection and retention of competent and in reference to a matter to which their authority
physicians; (3) the overseeing or supervision of all extends. This means that the knowledge of any of
persons who practice medicine within its walls; the staff of Medical City Hospital constitutes
and (4) the formulation, adoption and enforcement knowledge of PSI. Now, the failure of PSI, despite
of adequate rules and policies that ensure quality the attending nurses’ report, to investigate and
care for its patients.38 Thus, in Tucson Medical inform Natividad regarding the missing gauzes
Center, Inc. v. Misevich,39 it was held that a amounts to callous negligence. Not only did PSI
hospital, following the doctrine of corporate breach its duties to oversee or supervise all
responsibility, has the duty to see that it meets the persons who practice medicine within its walls, it
standards of responsibilities for the care of also failed to take an active step in fixing the
patients. Such duty includes the proper negligence committed. This renders PSI, not only
supervision of the members of its medical staff. vicariously liable for the negligence of Dr. Ampil
And in Bost v. Riley,40 the court concluded that a under Article 2180 of the Civil Code, but also
patient who enters a hospital does so with the directly liable for its own negligence under Article
reasonable expectation that it will attempt to cure 2176. In Fridena, the Supreme Court of Arizona
him. The hospital accordingly has the duty to make held:
a reasonable effort to monitor and oversee the
treatment prescribed and administered by the x x x In recent years, however, the duty of care
physicians practicing in its premises. owed to the patient by the hospital has expanded.
The emerging trend is to hold the hospital
In the present case, it was duly established that responsible where the hospital has failed to
PSI operates the Medical City Hospital for the monitor and review medical services being
purpose and under the concept of providing provided within its walls. See Kahn Hospital
comprehensive medical services to the public. Malpractice Prevention, 27 De Paul . Rev. 23
Accordingly, it has the duty to exercise reasonable (1977).
care to protect from harm all patients admitted into
its facility for medical treatment. Unfortunately, PSI Among the cases indicative of the ‘emerging trend’
failed to perform such duty. The findings of the trial is Purcell v. Zimbelman, 18 Ariz. App. 75,500 P. 2d
court are convincing, thus: 335 (1972). In Purcell, the hospital argued that it
could not be held liable for the malpractice of a
x x x PSI’s liability is traceable to its failure to medical practitioner because he was an
conduct an investigation of the matter reported in independent contractor within the hospital. The
the nota bene of the count nurse. Such failure Court of Appeals pointed out that the hospital had
established PSI’s part in the dark conspiracy of created a professional staff whose competence
silence and concealment about the gauzes. and performance was to be monitored and
Ethical considerations, if not also legal, dictated reviewed by the governing body of the hospital,
the holding of an immediate inquiry into the events, and the court held that a hospital would be
if not for the benefit of the patient to whom the duty negligent where it had knowledge or reason to
is primarily owed, then in the interest of arriving at believe that a doctor using the facilities was
the truth. The Court cannot accept that the medical employing a method of treatment or care which fell
and the healing professions, through their below the recognized standard of care.
members like defendant surgeons, and their
institutions like PSI’s hospital facility, can callously Subsequent to the Purcell decision, the Arizona
turn their backs on and disregard even a mere Court of Appeals held that a hospital has certain
probability of mistake or negligence by refusing or inherent responsibilities regarding the quality of
failing to investigate a report of such seriousness medical care furnished to patients within its walls
as the one in Natividad’s case. and it must meet the standards of responsibility

113
commensurate with this undertaking. Beeck v. REYNATO S. PUNO
Tucson General Hospital, 18 Ariz. App. 165, 500 Chief Justice
P. 2d 1153 (1972). This court has confirmed the Chairperson
rulings of the Court of Appeals that a hospital has
the duty of supervising the competence of the RENATO C. ADOLFO S.
doctors on its staff. x x x. CORONA AZCUNA
Associate Justice Asscociate Justice
x x x
x x x
(No Part)
In the amended complaint, the plaintiffs did plead CANCIO C. GARCIA
that the operation was performed at the hospital Associate Justice
with its knowledge, aid, and assistance, and that
the negligence of the defendants was the
CERTIFICATION
proximate cause of the patient’s injuries. We find
that such general allegations of negligence, along
with the evidence produced at the trial of this case, Pursuant to Article VIII, Section 13 of the
are sufficient to support the hospital’s liability Constitution, it is hereby certified that the
based on the theory of negligent supervision." conclusions in the above Decision were reached in
consultation before the case was assigned to the
writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.
Anent the corollary issue of whether PSI is
solidarily liable with Dr. Ampil for damages, let it be
emphasized that PSI, apart from a general denial REYNATO S. PUNO
of its responsibility, failed to adduce evidence Chief Justice
showing that it exercised the diligence of a good
father of a family in the accreditation and Republic of the Philippines
supervision of the latter. In neglecting to offer such SUPREME COURT
proof, PSI failed to discharge its burden under the Manila
last paragraph of Article 2180 cited earlier, and,
therefore, must be adjudged solidarily liable with FIRST DIVISION
Dr. Ampil. Moreover, as we have discussed, PSI is
also directly liable to the Aganas. G.R. No. 111692 February 9, 1996

One final word. Once a physician undertakes the ALEJANDRO FUENTES, JR., petitioner,
treatment and care of a patient, the law imposes vs.
on him certain obligations. In order to escape COURT OF APPEALS and PEOPLE OF THE
liability, he must possess that reasonable degree PHILIPPINES, respondents.
of learning, skill and experience required by his
profession. At the same time, he must apply DECISION
reasonable care and diligence in the exercise of
his skill and the application of his knowledge, and
exert his best judgment. BELLOSILLO, J.:

WHEREFORE, we DENY all the petitions and Still professing innocence and insisting that he is a
AFFIRM the challenged Decision of the Court of victim of mistaken identity, petitioner Alejandro
Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 42062 and CA-G.R. Fuentes, Jr., seeks reversal of the decision of the
SP No. 32198. Court of Appeals affirming his conviction for
murder.1
Costs against petitioners PSI and Dr. Miguel
Ampil. At four o'clock in the morning of 24 June 1989
Julieto Malaspina together with Godofredo
Llames, Honorio Osok and Alberto Toling, was at
SO ORDERED. a benefit dance at Dump Site, Tudela, Trento,
Agusan del Sur. Petitioner called Malaspina and
ANGELINA SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ placed his right arm on the shoulder of the latter
Associate Justice saying, "Before, I saw you with a long hair but now
you have a short hair."2 Suddenly petitioner
WE CONCUR: stabbed Malaspina in the abdomen with a hunting
knife. Malaspina fell to the ground and his

114
companions rushed to his side. Petitioner fled. This discrepancy is inconsequential. What is
Before the victim succumbed to the gaping wound material is that Malaspina was stabbed to death
on his abdomen he muttered that Alejandro and that three (3) prosecution witnesses positively
Fuentes, Jr., stabbed him.3 identified petitioner as the knife wielder. It must be
stressed that these witnesses had known
Dr. Porfirio L. Salubre, the Rural Health Physician petitioner for quite some time and never had any
who autopsied the cadaver of Julieto Malaspina on personal misunderstanding nor altercation with the
24 July 1989, reported that death was due to "stab latter as to create any suspicion that they were
wound at left lumbar region 1-1/2 in. in length with impelled by ill motives to falsely implicate him.
extracavitation of the small and large intestines."4
That it was another person who committed the
Petitioner claims on the other hand that it was his offense is too incredible. No less than petitioner's
cousin Zoilo Fuentes, Jr., alias "Jonie" who knifed own witness, Nerio Biscocho who claimed he also
Malaspina; that when the victim was killed he was saw the killing, testified that Alejandro Fuentes, Jr.,
conversing with him; that he was compelled to run the petitioner, and "Jonie" Fuentes are one and the
away when he heard that somebody with a bolo same person. Thus -
and spear would "kill all those from San Isidro"
because "Jonie," the killer, was from that place; COURT:
that since he was also from San Isidro he sought
refuge in his brother's house where he met "Jonie;" Q Who is this Joni Fuentes and
that "Jonie" admitted spontaneously that he Alejandro Fuentes?
stabbed Malaspina because after a boxing match
before the latter untied his gloves and punched A That Joni Fuentes is the same of that
him; that as there were many persons milling or the accused Alejandro Fuentes. I do not
around the house "Jonie" jumped out and escaped know his real name but he is called as
through the window; that he was arrested at eight Joni, sir, . . .7
o'clock in the morning of 24 June 1989 while he
was in a store in the barangay.5
On cross-examination witness Biscocho further
admitted that he himself would call petitioner
The Regional Trial Court of Prosperidad, Agusan Alejandro Fuentes, Jr., as "Joni" or "Jonie"
del Sur, found petitioner guilty of murder qualified Fuentes, as some of his friends did, but victim
by treachery and imposed on him an indeterminate Malaspina occasionally called petitioner "Junior".8
prison term of ten (10) years and one (1) day
of prison mayor as minimum to seventeen (17)
Petitioner would make much of the alleged
years and four (4) months of reclusion temporal as
confession of Zoilo Fuentes, Jr., since it is a
maximum, to indemnify the heirs of the victim
declaration against penal interest and therefore an
Julieto Malaspina the amount of P50,000.00 and
exception to the hearsay rule. The so-called
to pay P8,300.00 as actual damages plus costs.6
confession of Zoilo was allegedly given to
Felicisimo Fuentes, the uncle of petitioner and
The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the Zoilo, who in turn relayed the matter to P/Sgt.
trial court; hence, this petition for review. Benjamin Conde, Jr. Felicisimo testified that on 24
June 1989 while he was at Barangay San Isidro,
Petitioner contends that the appellate court erred Zoilo Fuentes, Jr., confessed that he killed
when it held that petitioner was positively and Malaspina in "retaliation;" that he even showed
categorically identified as the killer of Malaspina, in him the knife he used and asked his help in finding
affirming the judgment of conviction and in holding a lawyer, in securing bail and, if possible, in
petitioner liable for damages to the heirs of the working out a settlement with the relatives of the
victim. deceased. The following day however he learned
that the self-confessed killer was gone and that
Petitioner points to an alleged inconsistency petitioner had been arrested for a crime he did not
between the testimonies of prosecution witnesses commit.9
Alberto Toling and Honorio Osok to the effect that
they saw petitioner stab Malaspina on the right For his part, Station Commander P/Sgt. Conde,
lumbar region, and the testimony of the attending Jr., testified that after the criminal information for
physician that the victim was stabbed on the left murder was filed on 26 July 1989, petitioner met
lumbar region. Felicisimo who informed him of the disclosure by
Zoilo. Conde then advised Felicisimo that if it was
true that it was Zoilo who fatally stabbed Malaspina

115
Felicisimo must persuade Zoilo to surrender. For all its attempt to demonstrate the arbitrariness
Conde then personally went to Barangay San behind the rejection in certain cases of
Isidro to investigate. There he was told by the declarations against penal interest,
townsfolk that Zoilo had already fled.10 the Toledo case cannot be applied in the instant
case which is remarkably different. Consider this
One of the recognized exceptions to the hearsay factual scenario: the alleged declarant Zoilo
rule is that pertaining to declarations made against Fuentes Jr., a cousin of accused-appellant,
interest. Sec. 38 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court verbally admitted to the latter, and later to their
provides that "(t)he declaration made by a person common uncle Felicisimo Fuentes, that he (Zoilo)
deceased, or unable to testify, against the interest killed the victim because of a grudge, after which
of the declarant, if the fact asserted in the he disappeared. One striking feature that militates
declaration was at the time it was made so far against the acceptance of such a statement is its
contrary to declarant's own interest, that a patent untrustworthiness. Zoilo who is related to
reasonable man in his position would not have accused-appellant had every motive to
made the declaration unless he believed it to be prevaricate. The same can be said of accused-
true, may be received in evidence against himself appellant and his uncle Felicisimo. Secondly, we
or his successors in interest and against third need not resort to legal rhetorics to find that the
persons." The admissibility in evidence of such admission of such a statement may likewise be,
declaration is grounded on necessity and according to Wigmore, "shocking to the sense of
trustworthiness.11 justice." 13 Let us assume that the trial court did
admit the statement of Zoilo and on that basis
There are three (3) essential requisites for the acquitted accused-appellant. Let us assume
admissibility of a declaration against interest: (a) further that Zoilo was subsequently captured and
the declarant must not be available to testify; (b) upon being confronted with his admission of guilt
the declaration must concern a fact cognizable by readily repudiated the same. There is nothing,
the declarant; and (c) the circumstances must absolutely nothing that can bind Zoilo legally to
render it improbable that a motive to falsify existed. that statement.

In the instant case, we find that the declaration But more importantly, the far weightier reason why
particularly against penal interest attributed to the admission against penal interest cannot be
Zoilo Fuentes Jr. is not admissible in evidence as accepted in the instant case is that the declarant is
an exception to the hearsay rule. We are not not "unable to testify." There is no showing that
unaware of People v. Toledo, 12 a 1928 case, Zoilo is either dead, mentally incapacitated or
where Justice Malcolm writing for the Court physically incompetent which Sec. 38 obviously
endeavored to reexamine the declaration of third contemplates. His mere absence from the
parties made contrary to their penal interest. In that jurisdiction does not make him ipso
case, the protagonists Holgado and Morales facto unavailable under this rule. 14 For it is
engaged in a bolo duel. Morales was killed almost incumbent upon the defense to produce each and
instantly. Holgado who was seriously wounded every piece of evidence that can break the
gave a sworn statement (Exh. 1) before the prosecution and assure the acquittal of the
municipal president declaring that when he and accused. Other than the gratuitous statements of
Morales fought there was nobody else present. accused-appellant and his uncle to the effect that
One (1) month later Holgado died from his Zoilo admitted having killed Malaspina, the records
wounds. While the Court was agreed that Toledo, show that the defense did not exert any serious
who reportedly intervened in the fight and dealt the effort to produce Zoilo as a witness. Lest we be
mortal blow, should be exonerated on reasonable misunderstood, the Court is always for the
doubt, the members did not reach an accord on admission of evidence that would let an innocent
the admissibility of Exh. 1. One group would totally declaration of guilt by the real culprit. But this can
disregard Exh. 1 since there was ample be open to abuse, as when the extrajudicial
testimonial evidence to support an acquittal. The statement is not even authenticated thus
second group considered Exh. 1 as part of the res increasing the probability of its fabrication; it is
gestae as it was made on the same morning when made to persons who have every reason to lie and
the fight occurred. A third group, to which Justice falsify; and it is not altogether clear that the
Malcolm belonged, opined that the court below declarant himself is unable to testify. Thus, for this
erred in not admitting Exh. 1 as the statement of a case at least, exclusion is the prudent recourse as
fact against penal interest. explained in Toledo -

The purpose of all evidence is to get at the


truth. The reason for the hearsay rule is

116
that the extrajudicial and unsworn WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from
statement of another is not the best finding petitioner ALEJANDRO FUENTES JR.
method of serving this purpose. In other guilty of MURDER and directing him to indemnify
words, the great possibility of the the heirs of Julieto Malaspina in the amount of
fabrication of falsehoods, and the inability P50,000.00 plus costs is AFFIRMED with the
to prove their untruth, requires that the modification that the penalty imposed should be as
doors be closed to such evidence.15 it is corrected to reclusion perpetua, and the award
of actual damages is deleted.
The Court of Appeals as well as the trial court
correctly determined the crime to be murder SO ORDERED.
qualified by treachery. The suddenness of the
attack, without any provocation from the Padilla, Vitug, Kapunan and Hermosisima, Jr.,
unsuspecting victim, made the stabbing of JJ., concur.
Malaspina treacherous.16 However, the court a
quo erred in imposing an indeterminate prison
term of ten (10) years and one (1) day of prison
mayor as minimum to seventeen (17) years and
four (4) months of reclusion temporal as
maximum. Murder under Art. 248 of The Revised
Penal Code is punishable by reclusion temporal in
its maximum period to death. Since aside from THIRD DIVISION
treachery qualifying the crime to murder there is no
other modifying circumstance proved, the medium G.R. No. 143819 January 29, 2002
period of the penalty, i.e. reclusion perpetua,
should have been imposed on petitioner.17 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee,
vs.
Petitioner maintains that assuming that he GERRY CUENCA y MEDRANO, JACKSON
committed the crime it is error to hold him CUENCA (at large), CRISANTO AGON y
answerable for P8,300.00 as actual damages on MAGPANTAY, and BERNIE AGON (at
the basis of the mere testimony of the victim's large), accused,
sister, Angelina Serrano, without any tangible GERRY CUENCA y MEDRANO and CRISANTO
document to support such claim. This is a valid AGON y MAGPANTAY, appellants.
point. in crimes and quasi-delicts, the defendant is
liable for all damages which are the natural and PANGANIBAN, J.:
probable consequences of the act or omission
complained of.18 To seek recovery for actual The testimony of a single eyewitness, if credible
damages it is essential that the injured party and positive, is sufficient to support a conviction for
proves the actual amount of loss with reasonable murder. Truth is established by the quality, not
degree of certainty premised upon competent necessarily by the quantity, of the evidence.
proof and on the best evidence available. 19 Courts
cannot simply, rely on speculation, conjecture or The Case
guesswork in determining the fact and amount of
damages.20
Gerry Cuenca and Crisanto Agon1 appeal the
February 7, 2000 Decision2 of the Regional Trial
The award by the court a quo of P8,300.00 as Court (RTC) of Lipa City (Branch 12) in Criminal
actual damages is not supported by the evidence
Case No. 0132-98, which found them guilty of
on record. We have only the testimony of the murder beyond reasonable doubt.
victim's elder sister stating that she incurred
expenses of P8,300.00 in connection with the
death of Malaspina. 21 However, no proof of the The RTC disposed of the case as follows:
actual damages was ever presented in court. Of
the expenses alleged to have been incurred, the "WHEREFORE, the Court finds the
Court can only give credence to those supported accused GERRY CUENCA and
by receipts and which appear to have been CRISANTO AGON, guilty beyond
genuinely expended in connection with the death reasonable doubt, both as principals by
of the victim. Since the actual amount was not direct participation for having conspired
substantiated, the same cannot be granted.22 and confederated with one another in the
commission of the crime of [m]urder, as
alleged in the Information dated March 27,

117
1998, and defined and penalized under In its Brief,6 the Office of the Solicitor General
Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as summarized the prosecution's version of the facts
amended by Republic Act 7659 and as follows:
sentences each of them to suffer the
penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA, to "On February 14, 1998, around 9:30 in the
pay the heirs of Wilfredo Castillo the sum evening, while lying down with his wife and
of ₱50,000.00 as indemnity for his death, family in his house at Module Subdivision,
the sum of ₱38,800.00, as actual Barangay Tambo, Lipa City, Batangas,
damages, the sum of ₱4,800,000.00 for Marcial Morillo7 heard a commotion taking
loss of earning capacity, the sum of place outside his house. Dogs were
₱20,000.00, as moral damages and to pay barking loudly, so he decided to go out of
their proportionate share of the costs. the house to see what was happening
outside. He then saw a man being mauled
"The period during which both accused are and beaten by four (4) persons. Upon
under preventive imprisonment shall be seeing the incident, he hid himself behind
deducted from their sentence. a PLDT telephone post. From a distance
of about ten (10) meters, he recognized
"Finally, let also warrants of arrest be the four (4) assailants as Gerry Cuenca,
issued against the accused Jackson Jackson Cuenca, Crisanto Agon and
Cuenca and Bernardo 'Bernie' Agon for Bernie Agon, while the person being
their immediate apprehension."3 mauled was Wilfredo 'Edok' Castillo.
Marcial knew the four assailants and the
On March 17, 1998, Lipa City Assistant City victim for eight (8) years since they were
Prosecutor Mario G. Mayuga filed the Information all neighbors, Gerry and Jackson being
charging appellants and their co-accused as brothers and Crisanto and Bernie being
follows: father and son. He witnessed Crisanto
hold Edok's left hand while Bernie held his
right hand. Gerry was at Edok's front and
"That on or about the 14th day of February,
to the right while Jackson was at Edok's
1998 at about 9:30 o'clock in the evening,
front and to the left and both were beating
at Barangay Tambo, Lipa City, Philippines
Edok continuously. Gerry and Jackson
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
each used a piece of wood in hitting Edok
Court, the above-named accused, then
several times on the face, head, chest and
armed with bladed/pointed and hard
other parts of his body. Edok tried to
instruments, conspiring and confederating
struggle but his efforts proved futile. Edok
together, acting in common accord and
then gave in, stooped down and eventually
mutually aiding one another, with intent to
lost consciousness (Lumug[m]ok na po
kill, with treachery and grave abuse of
siya). The four (4) assailants then carried
superior strength and taking advantage of
Edok's body with one holding on to his
nighttime, did then and there wilfully,
right arm, the other one x x x his left arm
unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault,
and the other two each held the right and
beat and stab with the use of said
left leg[s] of Edok towards the direction of
bladed/pointed and hard instruments,
Calabarzon Highway.
suddenly and without warning, one
Wilfredo Castillo, thereby inflicting upon
the latter stab wounds, which directly "Thereafter, Marcial returned to his house
caused his death."4 but did not tell his wife about the incident
because she was 'nerbiyosa'. He did not
want the members of his family to get
When arraigned on April 27, 1998, appellants --
involved in the incident because he feared
with the assistance of their lawyers -- entered a
for their safety. The mauling incident
plea of not guilty.5Because their co-accused were
lasted approximately twenty (20) minutes.
at large, trial on the merits proceeded only as
The place where the incident happened
against them.
was illuminated by the light coming from
the moon and the electric bulb at the
The Facts electric post which was at the top of the
roof of a house near the place of the
Version of the Prosecution incident.

118
"The following morning, February 15, frontal area of the right ear which reached
1998, Marcial met Feliciano Castillo, the skull and the second stab wound also
Edok's brother, who told him that they at his right ear; one (1) lacerated gaping
were looking for Edok. Marcial did not wound on the head; there were several
mention to Feliciano that he had witnessed contusions and hematoma on both eyes
the mauling of Edok because he was afraid which could have been caused by
that he might be implicated and involved in mauling, and hematomas on the middle
the incident. mandibular area and the lateral
mandibular area (chin) which could have
"On February 15, 1998, around 2:30 in the been caused by mauling or the dumping of
afternoon, a neighbor named Silo passed the cadaver in to the well; there are also
by Marcial's house and told him that they linear abrasions on the right lateral neck
were looking for Edok's body. Marcial area that could have been caused by
joined in the search in the forest for about forcible contact; there were nine (9)
one hour and then he went home. wounds on the body, that is, four (4) stab
wounds and five (5) abrasions; the first
"About 4 o'clock in the afternoon of stab wound was on the third intercostal
February 15, 1998, Feliciano dropped by space midelavicular area, the second on
the house of Marcial and said that Edok's the fifth intercostal space, right
body had been found and borrowed midelavicular area, the third on the
Marcial's flashlight in order to help in the 8th intercostal space midelavicular area,
recovery of Edok's body which was found and the fourth [was] on the right lumbar
inside a well in the forest. The body was area; the said wounds were almost of the
retrieved from the well which was about same depth, that is 5 cms; all of the said
fifteen (15) meters deep. There were blood wounds could have been caused by a
stains around the well. Coconut trees sharp pointed instrument; she also found
surrounded the area. The body was five (5) abrasion on the body, i.e., in the left
recovered between Masagana Subdivision midscapular area, left infrascapular area,
and Adelina Subdivision, which was a on the vertebral line, on the right
forested area and about one-half (1/2) midscapular area and on the vertebral line;
kilometer from where the mauling incident that the abrasions are called 'gasgas' and
took place. could have been caused by forcible
contact; she also found in the extrem[i]ties
of the cadaver two (2) stab wounds on the
"Around 4:30 in the afternoon of February
right anterior thigh 4 to 5 cms. deep; she
15, 1998, Feliciano reported to the Desk
also found three (3) abrasions on the right
Officer, SPO2 Alberto Libao of the Lipa
forearm, left posterior arm and left
Police Satation, that the body of his
posterior hand which could have been
brother, Wilfredo Castillo, had been found
caused by forcible contact. The internal
in the forested area in Barangay Tambo.
examination on the victim's body revealed
Thereafter, Police Inspector Romeo Mitra,
that 200 ml. of blood were found in the
PO2 Enrico Tapalla, SPO4 Renaldo
fleural cavity which could have come from
Saludo and SPO3 Pablo de Luna were
the perforations of the right ventricle of the
dispatched to the crime scene to
heart; the liver and upper lobe of the right
investigate the incident. Feliciano went
lung were perforated; there were complete
with them. When Edok's body was
fractures on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th of
retrieved, SPO4 Saludo noticed the
both ribs which alone were sufficient to
presence of stab wounds, blows and
cause death. The mauling was aggravated
hematomas on his body. The cadaver was
by the dumping of the Edok's body in the
then taken to Funeraria San Sebastian at
well. Considering the nature and number
Balagbag, Lipa City.
of injuries Edok sustained, no medical
attention and assistance could have saved
"About 7:30 in the evening of February 15, his life. The cause of Edok's death was
1998, Dr. Corazon Sabile, Health Officer of Hypovolemia secondary to multiple stab
Lipa City, conducted an autopsy on Edok's wounds.
body. The physical examination yielded
the following results: there were nine (9)
"On February 16, 1998, Marcial Morillo told
injuries on the head, two (2) of which were
Ruben Castillo about the mauling incident
stab wounds, one stab wound on the right

119
which (Morillo) had witnessed on the night the house of Roger Dimaculangan at
of February 14, 1998. Normanz Village, Tambo, Lipa City helping
in the preparation of food for the baptismal
"Bothered by his conscience, on February party on February 15, 1998. Other than
17, 1998, Morillo went to the Lipa Police accused-appellants Andy Obille, Benjamin
Station to report the incident."8 (Citations Anterola and Romy Anterola and other
omitted) people were there. Accused-appellants
vehemently denied that they were the
Version of the Defense ones who killed Wilfredo Castillo alias
'Edok' in the evening of February 14,
1998."10
Appellants gave the following narration of the
facts:9
The Trial Court's Ruling
"The defense maintained that in the
evening of February 14, 1998 accused The RTC convicted appellants because the lone
Jackson Cuenca and Bernie Agon prosecution witness, Marcial Morcillo, was
together with three [V]isayan [C]alabarzon credible. It said: "the Court believes and gives
workers identified as Obet, Nognog and weight to the candid, vivid and detailed account of
Ruel were in the house of Yolanda Cuenca the incident and positive identification of all the
in the evening of February 14, 1998 at accused by Marcial Morcillo, not only because it is
Brgy. Tambo, Lipa City about one clear, straight-forward and devoid of any signs of
kilometer away from the place of Marcial artificiality, but also because it vibrates with truth
Morillo, the alleged eyewitness, in whose and sincerity."11
place according to Marcial Morillo the
crime was committed. While these The court a quo held that conspiracy attended the
persons were in said house of Yolanda killing:
Cuenca, they heard a voice calling for
Jackson who was identified as Wilfredo "In this case, Crisanto and Bernie Agon
Castillo. Jackson Cuenca came out [of] the were each holding the hands of Wilfredo
house and asked Wilfredo Castillo what Castillo, while the brothers Gerry and
was the problem[;] however, Wilfredo Jackson Cuenca helped each other in
Castillo immediately hacked him who was beating him with a piece of [wood] about
wounded at the right side of his back. one (1) meter long x x x. After Castillo
Witness Yolanda Cuenca brought him slumped and lost consciousness, the four
inside her house and attended to his (4) accused helped each other in carrying
wound. While bringing him inside the Wilfredo Castillo towards the Calabarzon
house, Jackson was struggling to be free, Highway going to the direction of Batangas
[and] the three Visayan [C]alabarzon City. Verily, at the precise moment of the
workers visitors went outside and execution of the crime, the accused acted
thereafter a commotion took place. During in concert to accomplish a common
the commotion, Yolanda Cuenca heard objective to take the life of Wilfredo
somebody [utter] the words 'sobra-sobra Castillo. The fact that Marcial Morillo did
na ang ginagawa mo sa mga tao dito'. The not witness the actual stabbing and killing
following day, February 15, 1998, two of of Wilfredo Castillo is of no moment."12
the three Visayan Calabarzon Workers
namely Obet and Nognog arrived at the It disbelieved the defenses of denial and alibi.
house of Yolanda Cuenca and told her that
she [would] say that she saw and heard Hence, this appeal.13
nothing about the commotion.
Issues
"Accused Gerry Cuenca and Crisanto
Agon were not in the house of Yolanda
In their Brief, appellants fault the trial court with the
Cuenca where the commotion took place
following alleged errors:
[o]n the evening of February 14, 1998 and
they were not also near the house of
Marcial Morillo where the crime took place "1. The honorable trial court erred in giving
allegedly [o]n the evening of February 14, weight to the testimony of the alleged lone
1998. On that time and date, they were at eyewitness, Marcial Mor[c]illo.

120
"2. The honorable trial court erred in not A: My wife and my family sir.
considering that the victim died of multiple
stab wounds and not due to injuries Q: While you were then already lying down
caused by a piece of wood. on that date, February 14, 1998 around
9:30 o'clock in the evening, do you
"3. The honorable trial court erred in not remember x x x any unusual incident that
considering the defense of alibi of transpired?
accused-appellants in the appreciation of
the whole evidence presented by the A: Yes sir.
prosecution and defense."14
Q: What was that unusual incident that
This Court's Ruling transpired?

After reviewing the records of this case, we find no A: There was a commotion of people sir.
cogent basis to reverse appellants' conviction. We
however modify the award of civil liabilities. Q: How did you come to know that there
was a commotion of people?
First Issue:
Credibility of Lone Prosecution Witness A: My dog and the dogs of my neighbors
were barking sir.
Appellants assail the credibility of Marcial Morcillo,
the lone prosecution witness. They contend that Q: What did you do when you heard this
the trial court erred in giving full credence to commotion of people and barking of the
Morcillo's testimony, because it was not "in dog and the dogs of your neighbors?
accordance with common experience and
observation of mankind."15 We disagree.
A: I went out of the house and looked for
[what] the commotion was all about[,] sir.
We carefully reviewed the testimonies of both the
prosecution and the defense witnesses, as well as
Q: What did you see when you looked [for]
the other pieces of evidence on record. We are
where this commotion [was] coming [from]
convinced that the trial court did not err in giving
or what was causing this commotion?
full faith and credence to Morcillo's testimony,
which we reproduce in part as follows:
A: I saw a person being beaten by four (4)
persons sir.
"Q: On February 14, 1998, around 9:30
o'clock in the evening, do you remember
where you were? Q: Were these four (4) persons or in what
place in relation to your house where these
four (4) persons beating one person?
A: I was inside my house sir.
A: In the street sir.
Q: Where was your house on that date,
February 14, 1998, 9:30 o'clock in the
evening? Q: How far is that place from your own
house?
A: At Module Subdivision, Tambo, Lipa
City sir. A: About ten (10) meters sir.

Q: What were you doing around that time, Q: Where were you when you saw four (4)
9:30 o'clock in the evening of February 14, persons beating one (1) person?
1998 inside your house in Module
Subdivision, Tambo, Lipa City? A: I was hiding behind [a] PLDT Telephone
post sir.
A: We were already lying down sir.
Q: From the place where you were hiding
Q: You said we, who were with you in your behind a PLDT Telephone Post, how far
house? [away from you] were these four (4)

121
persons who were beating another person A: Crisanto Agon and Bernie Agon sir.
x x x?
Q: How was Crisanto Agon holding Edok
A: 10 meters sir. Castillo while the brothers were beating
Edok Castillo?
Q: Were you able to recognize these four
(4) persons who were beating another A: The father and son were holding [both
person? hands of] Edok Castillo.

A: Yes, sir. Q: What hand was Crisanto Agon holding?

Q: Who were these four (4) persons whom A: Left hand sir.
you saw were beating another person.
Q: How about Bernie Agon, what hand of
A: Crisanto Agon, Bernie Agon, Jackson Edok Castillo was he holding?
Cuenca and Gerry Cuenca sir.
A: The right hand sir.
Q: Of these (4) persons whom you named
Gerry Cuenca and Crisanto Agon were the Q: How about Gerry Cuenca? Where was
persons whom you pointed [to] a while ago he positioned in relation to Edok Castillo
[among them]? when he was beating Edok?

A: Yes sir. A: Right front portion of Edok Castillo sir.

Q: Were you able to recognize the person Q: How about Jackson Cuenca, where
whom these four (4) accused were was he positioned in relation to Edok
beating? Castillo while he was beating Edok
Castillo?
A: Yes, sir. I recognized him.
A: He was standing towards the left front
Q: Who was that person who was being of Edok Castillo sir.
beaten by these four (4) accused, Gerry
Cuenca, Jackson Cuenca, Crisanto Agon xxx xxx xxx
and Bernie Agon?
Q: Aside from stooping down, what else
A: Edok Castillo sir. was Edok Castillo doing while he was
being beaten by Gerry Cuenca and
Q Do you know the complete name of Jackson Cuena and while Bernie Agon
this Edok Castillo? and Crisanto Agon were holding his two
hands?
A: I quite remember, it is Alfredo Castillo,
sir. A: He lost consciousness sir.

Q: And how were Gerry Cuenca, Jackson Q: Why do say that he lost consciousness?
Cuenca, Crisanto Agon and Bernie Agon
beating this Edok Castillo? A: 'Lumugmok na po siya'.

A: The father and son were holding Edok Q: But before Edok Castillo actually fe[l]l or
Castillo and the brothers were beating him 'lumugmok' what was he doing while he
sir. was being beaten up?

Q: When you said that the father and son A: He could not do anything anymore sir.
were holding Edok Castillo while the
brothers were beating him, who are you Q: After Wilfredo Castillo [fell] or
referring to when you said the father and lumugmok, what did Gerry Cuenca,
son? Jackson Cuenca, Crisanto Agon and

122
Bernie Agon do to him if they did anything Nevertheless, Morcillo remained steadfast in his
more? narration of what he had witnessed on the night of
February 14, 1998.
A: [T]hey carried him towards Calabarzon,
sir. So long as the witnesses' testimonies agree on
substantial matters, inconsequential
Q: By the way, how many times did Gerry inconsistencies and contradictions dilute neither
Cuenca and Jackson Cuenca hit Edok their credibility nor the verity of their
Castillo? testimonies.17 In the instant case, the
inconsistencies cited by appellants are
A: I could not remember, but he was hit insignificant and immaterial to the essential fact
several times, sir. testified to -- the killing of the victim.18

Q: In what part or parts of the body of Edok As a rule, this Court will not disturb the factual
Castillo was he hit by th[o]se beating [him findings of the trial court, because it had a better
up], if he was ever hit? opportunity to observe the demeanor and conduct
of the witnesses while they were testifying. Indeed,
its assessment of the witnesses and their
xxx xxx xxx
credibility is entitled to great weight and is even
conclusive and binding, if not tainted with
Witness pointing his face, to his head, to arbitrariness or oversight of some fact or
his chest and to his right face below the circumstance of significance and value.19
eye.
This Court has ruled in a number of cases20 that the
Q: You said that after Gerry Cuenca and testimony of a single witness, if credible and
Jackson Cuenca [beat] up Edok Castillo positive, is sufficient for conviction because truth is
while he was being held [by] his two (2) established not by the quantity, but by the quality
hands by Crisanto and Bernie Agon, he fell of the evidence.
down or 'lumugmok' [and] he was carried
to Calabarzon[;] what do you mean by this
Second Issue:
Calabarzon?
Cause of the Victim's Death
A: The highway going to Batangas sir.
Appellants also contend that Morcillo did not see
how the victim was stabbed. All he said was that
Q: How did the four (4) carry Edok Castillo he saw them beat up the victim with a piece of
towards the Calabarzo[n] which is the road wood. Thus, they said that the trial court erred in
according to you going to Batangas City? concluding that the deceased had succumbed, not
to multiple stab wounds, but to injuries caused by
A: They help[ed] each other in carrying him a piece of wood.21
sir.
In the absence of direct evidence, appellants may
Q: How did they carry actually this Edok be convicted on the basis of circumstantial
Castillo? evidence. The latter is defined as "that which
indirectly proves a fact in issue through an
A: The two (2) were carrying him by [both inference which the factfinder draws from the
his] hands[,] one [holding] on each hand evidence established. Resort thereto is essential
and the other two (2) were holding on [both when the lack of direct testimony would result in
his] feet sir.16 setting a felon free."22

On cross-examination Morcillo consistently Circumstantial evidence suffices to convict if the


maintained, despite intense grilling and repeated following requisites concur: (1) more than one
attempts of the defense counsel to discredit him, circumstance is present, (2) the facts from which
that appellants were the ones who had mauled the the inferences are derived are proven, and (3) the
victim. True, the defense counsel tried to impeach combination of all the circumstances produces a
his credibility during the cross-examination by conviction beyond reasonable doubt. The totality
leading him through an intricate and annoying of the evidence must constitute an unbroken chain
maze of questions that resulted in minor showing beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the
inconsistencies in his testimonial declarations. accused, to the exclusion of all others.23

123
To require direct eyewitness testimony when Third Issue:
circumstantial evidence is sufficiently established Defense of Alibi
would, in many cases, expose society to felons
who would be unreasonably set free.24 Well-settled is the rule that alibi is the weakest of
all defenses, because it is easy to concoct and
In the present case, the postmortem examination difficult to disprove. For alibi to prosper, it is not
shows that the victim sustained multiple enough for the accused to prove that they were
lacerations and abrasions plus eight stab somewhere else when the crime was committed;
wounds.25 The following pieces of circumstantial they must likewise demonstrate that it was
evidence show beyond reasonable doubt that physically impossible for them to have been at the
appellants are responsible for the killing: scene of the crime at the time.26

First, Morcillo positively identified In the case before us, appellants claim that at the
appellants as members of the group that time the crime happened, they were at the
had ganged up on the victim and mauled residence of Roger Dimaculangan, which was
him near his residence around 9:30 in the located also at Barangay Tambo, Lipa City.
evening on February 14, 1998. Dismissing this claim, the RTC said:

Second, the witness saw appellants acting "Alibi and denial are inherently weak and
in unison -- beating up then carrying easily contrived. This is why the accused
towards the Calabarzon Highway -- the must prove with clear and convincing
unconscious body of the victim. evidence that it was physically impossible
for him to have been present at the place
Third, the victim's corpse was recovered and time the felony was committed. This
the next day inside a well, which was less the accused failed to do. The distance
than a kilometer away from the place of the between the house of Roger
mauling. Dimaculangan, where both accused
claimed to be at the time the f[e]lony was
Fourth, the victim suffered from multiple committed and the locus criminis is just a
stab wounds, abrasions, contusions and few kilometers away. It can be travelled in
lacerations, all of which indicated that he a few minutes by bicycle. Thus, it was not
had been heavily beaten up. This was impossible for Gerry Cuenca and Crisanto
consistent with the narration of Morcillo on Agon to leave and, after killing Wilfredo
how he saw appellants maul the victim less Castillo, return to the house of
than 24 hours before the dead body was Dimaculangan without anybody noticing
discovered. their absence. In any event, alibi and
denial cannot overcome the categorical
and credible testimony of Marcial Morcillo
Fifth, appellants were the last persons
identifying both accused as among those
seen with the victim before he died.
whom he saw helping each other in
holding and beating Wilfredo Castillo and
Sixth, the other accused, Jackson Cuenca thereafter carrying him towards
(brother of Appellant Gerry Cuenca) and [C]alabarzon Highway going to the
Bernie Agon (son of Appellant Crisanto direction of Batangas City. Basic is the rule
Agon) fled from their residence in Lipa that positive identification prevails over
City, and they have continuously evaded denial and alibi."27
arrest up to the present.
Thus, it was not physically impossible for
Finally, Morcillo had no ill motive to testify appellants to have been at the scene of the crime
against appellants. on the evening of February 14, 1998,
notwithstanding their friends' testimonies that they
From the foregoing circumstances, it is undisputed were also at the Dimaculangan residence.
that appellants were physically present at
the locus criminis and its immediate vicinity, and Conspiracy and Treachery
that an eyewitness positively identified them to be
members of the group that had mauled and
The trial court did not err in finding appellants guilty
removed the victim from the crime scene prior to
of murder because treachery, which was alleged
the discovery of his corpse.
in the Information, had attended the killing.

124
On this point, the trial court aptly explained: an award for the loss of earning capacity to the
heirs of the deceased despite the absence of
"Article 14 (16) of the Revised Penal Code documentary evidence to substantiate such claim.
provides that there is treachery when the We deemed the testimony of the victim's wife
offender commits any of the crimes sufficient to establish the basis for the grant.
against persons, employing means, However, the new ruling in People v.
methods o[r] forms in the execution thereof Panabang34 modifies this principle and now
which tend directly and specifically to precludes an award for loss of earning capacity
insure its execution without risk to himself without adequate proof. The bare testimony of the
arising from the defense which the brother of the deceased Felicisimo Castillo that, at
offended party might make. In the instant the time of his death, Wilfredo Castillo was earning
case, Crisanto and Bernie Agon were ₱250.00 daily as carpenter35 is not sufficient proof.
holding both hands of Wilfredo Castillo,
while Gerry and Jackson Cuenca were In Panabang, we held that the indemnification for
beating him with a piece of wood on the loss of earning capacity must be duly proven.
different parts of his body. Wilfredo Castillo Justice Jose C. Vitug, expressing the current view
was unarmed and defenseless. Hence, of the Court, wrote:
treachery was present."28
"Indemnification for loss of earning
Treachery is present when the following conditions capacity partakes of the nature of actual
are present: (1) the means of execution employed damages which must be duly proven. A
gives the victims no opportunity to defend self-serving statement, being unreliable, is
themselves or to retaliate, and (2) the means of not enough. The father of the victim has
execution are deliberately or consciously adopted. testified on the latter's monthly income of
In this case, the prosecution succeeded in ₱12,000.00. But for lost income to be
showing that appellants, together with their co- recovered, there must likewise be an
accused (who are still at large), helped each other unbiased proof of the
in ensuring the execution of their nefarious deceased's average, not just gross,
intention to beat up and kill the victim who was income. An award for lost of earning
unarmed and with no opportunity to defend capacity refers to the net income of the
himself. deceased, i.e., his total income net of
expenses. x x x."36 (Emphasis in the
The prosecution was likewise able to show that original, citations omitted)
there was conspiracy. Conspiracy exists when two
or more persons come to an agreement and WHEREFORE, the assailed Decision
decide on the commission of a felony.29 It is not is AFFIRMED but the actual damages awarded by
necessary that there be direct proof that the co- the RTC is REDUCED from ₱35,850 to ₱7,300
conspirators had any prior agreement to commit while the grant of ₱4,800,000 for loss of earning
the crime; it is sufficient that they acted in concert capacity is DELETED.
pursuant to the same objective.30
SO ORDERED.
Despite affirming appellants' conviction, we
nonetheless modify the monetary awards. Melo, (Chairman), Vitug, Sandoval-Gutierrez, and
Carpio, JJ., concur.
The award of ₱50,000 as indemnity ex delicto for
the loss of the victim's life is in accord with Republic of the Philippines
prevailing jurisprudence.31 Likewise, the award of SUPREME COURT
₱20,000 as moral damages is reasonable. Manila
However, the actual damages granted is improper
and should be reduced from ₱38,800 to ₱7,300
EN BANC
considering that only the latter amount,
representing burial expenses, was duly supported
by receipts. The unsubstantiated balance of G.R. No. L-11037 December 29, 1960
₱31,500 should be deleted.32
EDGARDO CARIAGA, ET AL., plaintiffs-
We also find the court a quo's award of appellants,
₱4,800,000 for loss of earning capacity to be vs.
improper. True, in People v. Verde,33 we granted LAGUNA TAYABAS BUS

125
COMPANY, defendant-appellant. On April 24, 1953 the present action was filed to
MANILA RAILROAD COMPANY, defendant- recover for Edgardo Cariaga, from the LTB and the
appellee. MRR Co., and total sum of P312,000.00 as actual,
compensatory, moral and exemplary damages,
Ozaeta, Lichauco and Picazo for defendant and and for his parents, the sum of P18,00.00 in the
appellant. same concepts. The LTB disclaimed liability
E.A. Fernandez and L.H. Fernandez for plaintiffs claiming that the accident was due to the
and appellants. negligence of its co-defendant, the Manila
Gov't. Corp. Counsel A. Padilla and Atty. F.A. Railroad Company, for not providing a crossing
Umali for appellee. bar at the point where the national highway
crossed the railway track, and for this reason filed
DIZON, J.: the corresponding cross-claim against the latter
company to recover the total sum of P18,194.75
representing the expenses paid to Edgardo
At about 1:00 p.m. on June 18, 1952, Bus No. 133
Cariaga. The Manila Railroad Company, in turn,
of the Laguna Tayabas Bus
denied liability upon the complaint and cross-claim
Co. — hereinafter referred to as the LTB — driven
alleging that it was the reckless negligence of the
by Alfredo Moncada, left its station at Azcarraga
bus driver that caused the accident.
St., Manila, for Lilio, Laguna, with Edgardo
Cariaga, a fourth-year medical student of the
University of Santo Tomas, as one of its The lower court held that it was the negligence of
passengers. At about 3:00 p.m., as the bus the bus driver that caused the accident and, as a
reached that part of the poblacion of Bay, Laguna, result, rendered judgment sentencing the LTB to
where the national highway crossed a railroad pay Edgardo Cariaga the sum of P10,490.00 as
track, it bumped against the engine of a train then compensatory damages, with interest at the legal
passing by with such terrific force that the first six rate from the filing of the complaint, and dismissing
wheels of the latter were derailed, the engine and the cross-claim against the Manila Railroad
the front part of the body of the bus was wrecked, Company. From this decision the Cariagas and the
the driver of the bus died instantly, while many of LTB appealed.
its passengers, Edgardo among them, were
severely injured. Edgardo was first confined at the The Cariagas claim that the trial court erred: in
San Pablo City Hospital from 5:00 p.m., June 18, awarding only P10,490.00 as compensatory
1952, to 8:25 a.m., June 20 of the same year when damages to Edgardo; in not awarding them actual
he was taken to the De los Santos Clinic, Quezon and moral damages, and in not sentencing
City. He left that clinic on October 14 to be appellant LTB to pay attorney's fees.
transferred to the University of Santo Tomas
Hospital where he stayed up to November 15. On On the other hand, the LTB's principal contention
this last date he was taken back to the De los in this appeal is that the trial court should have held
Santos Clinic where he stayed until January 15, that the collision was due to the fault of both the
1953. He was unconscious during the first 35 days locomotive driver and the bus driver and erred, as
after the accident; at the De los Santos Clinic Dr. a consequence, in not holding the Manila Railroad
Gustilo removed the fractured bones which Company liable upon the cross-claim filed against
lacerated the right frontal lobe of his brain and at it.
the University of Santo Tomas Hospital Dr. Gustilo
performed another operation to cover a big hole on We shall first dispose of the appeal of the bus
the right frontal part of the head with a tantalum company. Its first contention is that the driver of the
plate. train locomotive, like the bus driver, violated the
law, first, in sounding the whistle only when the
The LTB paid the sum of P16,964.45 for all the collision was about to take place instead of at a
hospital, medical and miscellaneous expenses distance at least 300 meters from the crossing,
incurred from June 18, 1952 to April, 1953. From and second, in not ringing the locomotive bell at
January 15, 1953 up to April of the same year all. Both contentions are without merits.
Edgardo stayed in a private house in Quezon, City,
the LTB having agreed to give him a subsistence After considering the evidence presented by both
allowance of P10.00 daily during his parties the lower court expressly found:
convalescence, having spent in this connection
the total sum of P775.30 in addition to the amount . . . While the train was approximately 300
already referred to. meters from the crossing, the engineer
sounded two long and two short whistles

126
and upon reaching a point about 100 incorporated in the charter of the said MRR Co.
meters from the highway, he sounded a This contention — as is obvious — is the very
long whistle which lasted up to the time the foundation of the cross-claim interposed by the
train was about to cross it. The bus LTB against its
proceeded on its way without slackening co-defendant. The former, therefore, had the
its speed and it bumped against the train burden of proving it affirmatively because a
engine, causing the first six wheels of the violation of law is never presumed. The record
latter to be derailed. discloses that this burden has not been
satisfactorily discharged.
xxx xxx xxx
The Cariagas, as appellants, claim that the award
. . . that the train whistle had been sounded of P10,000.00 compensatory damages to Eduardo
several times before it reached the is inadequate considering the nature and the after
crossing. All witnesses for the plaintiffs effects of the physical injuries suffered by him.
and the defendants are uniform in stating After a careful consideration of the evidence on
that they heard the train whistle sometime this point we find their contentions to be well-
before the impact and considering that founded.
some of them were in the bus at the time,
the driver thereof must have heard it From the deposition of Dr. Romeo Gustilo, a
because he was seated on the left front neurosurgeon, it appears that, as a result of the
part of the bus and it was his duty and injuries suffered by Edgardo, his right forehead
concern to observe such fact in connection was fractured necessitating the removal of
with the safe operation of the vehicle. The practically all of the right frontal lobe of his brain.
other L.T.B. bus which arrived ahead at the From the testimony of Dr. Jose A. Fernandez, a
crossing, heeded the warning by stopping psychiatrist, it may be gathered that, because of
and allowing the train to pass and so the physical injuries suffered by Edgardo, his
nothing happened to said vehicle. On the mentality has been so reduced that he can no
other hand, the driver of the bus No. 133 longer finish his studies as a medical student; that
totally ignored the whistle and noise he has become completely misfit for any kind of
produced by the approaching train and work; that he can hardly walk around without
instead he tried to make the bus pass the someone helping him, and has to use a brace on
crossing before the train by not stopping a his left leg and feet.
few meters from the railway track and in
proceeding ahead. Upon the whole evidence on the matter, the lower
court found that the removal of the right frontal lobe
The above findings of the lower court are of the brain of Edgardo reduced his intelligence by
predicated mainly upon the testimony of Gregorio about 50%; that due to the replacement of the right
Ilusondo, a witness for the Manila Railroad frontal bone of his head with a tantalum plate
Company. Notwithstanding the efforts exerted by Edgardo has to lead a quite and retired life
the LTB to assail his credibility, we do not find in because "if the tantalum plate is pressed in or
the record any fact or circumstance sufficient to dented it would cause his death."
discredit his testimony. We have, therefore, no
other alternative but to accept the findings of the The impression one gathers from this evidence is
trial court to the effect, firstly, that the whistle of that, as a result of the physical injuries suffered by
locomotive was sounded four times — two long Edgardo Cariaga, he is now in a helpless
and two short — "as the train was approximately condition, virtually an invalid, both physically and
300 meters from the crossing"; secondly, that mentally.
another LTB bus which arrived at the crossing
ahead of the one where Edgardo Cariaga was a Appellant LTB admits that under Art. 2201 of the
passenger, paid heed to the warning and stopped Civil Code the damages for which the obligor,
before the "crossing", while — as the LTB itself guilty of a breach of contract but who acted in good
now admits (Brief p. 5) — the driver of the bus in faith, is liable shall be those that are the natural
question totally disregarded the warning. and probable consequences of the breach and
which the parties had forseen or could have
But to charge the MRR Co. with contributory reasonably forseen at the time the obligation was
negligence, the LTB claims that the engineer of the constituted, provided such damages, according to
locomotive failed to ring the bell altogether, in Art. 2199 of the same Code, have been duly
violation of the section 91 of Article 1459, proved. Upon this premise it claims that only the

127
actual damages suffered by Edgardo Cariaga The plaintiff Edgardo Cariaga is also not
consisting of medical, hospital and other expenses entitled to recover for attorney's fees,
in the total sum of P17,719.75 are within this because this case does not fall under any
category. We are of the opinion, however, that the of the instances enumerated in Article
income which Edgardo Cariaga could earn if he 2208 of the Civil Code.
should finish the medical course and pass the
corresponding board examinations must be We agree with the trial court and, to the reason
deemed to be within the same category because given above, we add those given by this Court in
they could have reasonably been foreseen by the Cachero vs. Manila Yellow Taxicab Co., Inc.(101
parties at the time he boarded the bus No. 133 Phil., 523, 530, 533):
owned and operated by the LTB. At that time he
was already a fourth-year student in medicine in a A mere perusal of plaintiff's complaint will
reputable university. While his scholastic may not show that this action against the defendant
be first rate (Exhibits 4, 4-A to 4-C), it is, is predicated on an alleged breach of
nevertheless, sufficient to justify the assumption contract of carriage, i.e., the failure of the
that he could have passed the board test in due defendants to bring him "safely and
time. As regards the income that he could possibly without mishaps" to his destination, and it
earn as a medical practitioner, it appears that, is to be noted that the chauffeur of
according to Dr. Amado Doria, a witness for the defendant's taxicab that plaintiff used
LTB, the amount of P300.00 could easily be when he received the injuries involved
expected as the minimum monthly income of herein, Gregorio Mira, has not even made
Edgardo had he finished his studies. a party defendant to this case.

Upon consideration of all the facts mentioned Considering, therefore, the nature of
heretofore this Court is of the opinion, and so plaintiff's action in this case, is he entitled
holds, that the compensatory damages awarded to to compensation for moral damages?
Edgardo Cariaga should be increased to Article 2219 of the Civil Code says the
P25,000.00. following:

Edgardo Cariaga's claim for moral damages and Art. 2219. Moral damages may be
attorney's fees was denied by the trial court, the recovered in the following and analogous
pertinent portion of its decision reading as follows: cases:

Plaintiffs' claim for moral damages cannot (1) A criminal offense resulting in physical
also be granted. Article 2219 of the Civil injuries;
Code enumerates the instances when
moral damages may be covered and the
(2) Quasi-delicts causing physical injuries;
case under consideration does not fall
under any one of them. The present action
cannot come under paragraph 2 of said (3) Seduction, abduction, rape, or other
article because it is not one of the quasi- lascivious acts;
delict and cannot be considered as such
because of the pre-existing contractual (4) Adultery or concubinage;
relation between the Laguna Tayabas Bus
Company and Edgardo Cariaga. Neither (5) Illegal or arbitrary detention or arrest;
could defendant Laguna Tayabas Bus
Company be held liable to pay moral (6) Illegal search;
damages to Edgardo Cariaga under Article
2220 of the Civil Code on account of (7) Libel, slander or any other form of
breach of its contract of carriage because defamation;
said defendant did not act fraudulently or
in bad faith in connection therewith. (8) Malicious prosecution;
Defendant Laguna Tayabas Bus Company
had exercised due diligence in the
selection and supervision of its employees (9) Acts mentioned in Article 309;
like the drivers of its buses in connection
with the discharge of their duties and so it (10) Acts and actions referred to in Articles
must be considered an obligor in good 21, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 34, and 35.
faith.

128
xxx xxx xxx have been selected, but it was thought
inadvisable to refer to so ancient a law as
Of course enumerated in the just quoted the "Lex Aquilia". So "quasi-delict" was
Article 2219 only the first two may have chosen, which more nearly corresponds to
any bearing on the case at bar. We find, the Roman Law classification of the
however, with regard to the first that the obligations and is in harmony with the
defendant herein has not committed in nature of this kind of liability.
connection with this case any "criminal
offense resulting in physical injuries". The The Commission also thought of the
one that committed the offense against the possibility of adopting the word "tort" from
plaintiff is Gregorio Mira, and that is why Anglo-American law. But "tort" under that
he has been already prosecuted and system is much broader than the Spanish-
punished therefor. Altho (a) owners and Philippine concept of obligations arising
managers of an establishment and from non-contractual negligence. "Tort" in
enterprise are responsible for damages Anglo-American jurisprudence includes
caused by their employees in the service not only negligence, but also intentional
of the branches in which the latter are criminal act, such as assault and battery,
employed or on the occasion of their false imprisonment and deceit. In the
functions; (b) employers are likewise liable general plan of the Philippine legal system,
for damages caused by their employees intentional and malicious acts are
and household helpers acting within the governed by the Penal Code, although
scope of their assigned task (Article 218 of certain exceptions are made in the Project.
the Civil Code); and (c) employers and (Report of the Code Commission, pp. 161-
corporations engaged in any kind of 162).
industry are subsidiary civilly liable for
felonies committed by their employees in In the case of Cangco, vs. Manila
the discharge of their duties (Art. 103, Railroad, 38 Phil. 768, We established the
Revised Penal Code), plaintiff herein does distinction between obligation derived from
not maintain this action under the negligence and obligation as a result of a
provisions of any of the articles of the breach of contract. Thus, we said:
codes just mentioned and against all the
persons who might be liable for the It is important to note that the foundation of
damages caused, but as a result of an the legal liability of the defendant is the
admitted breach of contract of carriage contract of carriage, and that the obligation
and against the defendant employer alone. to respond for the damage which plaintiff
We, therefore, hold that the case at bar has suffered arises, if at all, from the
does not come within the exception of breach of that contract by reason of the
paragraph 1, Article 2219 of the Civil Code. failure of defendant to exercise due care in
its performance. That is to say, its liability
The present complaint is not based either is direct and immediate, differing
on a "quasi-delict causing physical essentially in the legal viewpoint from the
injuries" (Art. 2219, par. 2 of the Civil presumptive responsibility for the
Code). From the report of the Code negligence of its servants, imposed by
Commission on the new Civil Code. We Article 1903 of the Civil Code (Art. 2180 of
copy the following: the new), which can be rebutted by proof
of the exercise of due care in their
A question of nomenclature confronted the selection of supervision. Article 1903 is not
Commission. After a careful deliberation, it applicable to obligations arising EX
was agreed to use the term "quasi-delict" CONTRACTU, but only to extra-
for those obligations which do not arise contractual obligations — or to use the
from law, contracts, quasi-contracts, or technical form of expression, that article
criminal offenses. They are known in relates only to CULPA AQUILIANA' and
Spanish legal treaties as "culpa aquiliana", not to CULPA CONTRACTUAL. lawphil.net

"culpa-extra-contractual" or "cuasi-
delitos". The phrase "culpa-extra- The decisions in the cases of Castro vs.
contractual" or its translation "extra- Acro Taxicab Co., (82 Phil., 359; 46 Off.
contractual-fault" was eliminated because Gaz., No. 5, p. 2023); Lilius, et al. vs.
it did not exclude quasi-contractual or Manila Railroad, 59 Phil., 758) and others,
penal obligations. "Aquilian fault" might

129
wherein moral damages were awarded to Benjamin P. Sorongon for accused-appellant.
the plaintiffs, are not applicable to the case
at bar because said decision were REGALADO, J.:
rendered before the effectivity of the new
Civil Code (August 30, 1950) and for the For the death of Wilfredo Longno, alias, "Inday," on September 17,
further reason that the complaints filed 1983 at Barangay Progreso, Lapuz, La Paz, Iloilo City, herein accused-
appellant Gerardo Sazon, alias "Insik," and Cornelio Altejos, alias
therein were based on different causes of "Toto," were charged with murder before the Regional Trial Court of
action. Iloilo, 1 in an amended information dated October 18, 1983.2 However,
only herein accused was arraigned, and pleaded not guilty, since
Cornelio Altejos was not apprehended and has since remained at
In view of the foregoing the sum of P2,000 large.
was awarded as moral damages by the
trial court has to be eliminated, for under After trial, appellant was found guilty and
the law it is not a compensation awardable sentenced to serve the penalty of reclusion
in a case like the one at bar. perpetua. He was further ordered to pay the heirs
of the deceased the amount of P16,628.40
What has been said heretofore relative to the representing hospital bills, expenses for the coffin,
moral damages claimed by Edgardo Cariaga tomb, wake and attorney's fees, and P30,000.00
obviously applies with greater force to a similar as indemnity for the death of the victim.
claim (4th assignment of error) made by his
parents. The antecedental facts which led to the filing of the
criminal action below are herein under set forth as
The claim made by said spouses for actual and synthesized by the court a quo from the
compensatory damages is likewise without merits. testimonies of the witnesses, 3 and as clarified and
As held by the trial court, in so far as the LTB is amplified by us from the transcripts of the notes of
concerned, the present action is based upon a the hearings.
breach of contract of carriage to which said
spouses were not a party, and neither can they On September 15, 1983, in the barangay
premise their claim upon the negligence or quasi- aforementioned, a certain Ernesto Romualdez
delict of the LTB for the simple reason that they was accosted by appellant near the barangay hall
were not themselves injured as a result of the for allegedly circulating the rumor that appellant
collision between the LTB bus and train owned by and his companions were engaged in stealing.
the Manila Railroad Company. Upon confrontation, appellant boxed Romualdez
which caused the latter to fall. Wilfredo Longo, who
Wherefore, modified as above indicated, the was then present at the scene, approached and
appealed judgement is hereby affirmed in all other helped the fallen Romualdez and pushed
respects, with costs against appellant LTB. appellant away. This apparently angered appellant
who, in his native dialect said "Andam ka lang
Paras, C.J., Bengzon, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Inday kay patyon ta guid," ("Watch out Inday for I
Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Gutierrez David, and will kill you") to which Longno retorted, "Just do it."
Paredes, JJ., concur.
Two days later, or on September 17, 1983, at
about 8:00 o'clock P.M., appellant and his cousin,
Republic of the Philippines
Cornelio Altejos, were drinking softdrinks at the
SUPREME COURT
shire of Gloria Aposaga when Longno passed by.
Manila
Thereupon, appellant and Altejos left their
softdrinks half-assumed and followed Longno.
SECOND DIVISION
Longno eventually reached the bench near the
G.R. No. 89684 September 18, 1990 public faucet where the group of Massulini Dullete,
Samuel Canoso and Nathaniel Ramos were
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff- sitting. He joined the group in their conversation by
appellee, saying, "Upon ako dira." ("I'll go with what you
vs. say."). Shortly thereafter, appellant and Altejos
GERARDO SAZON, alias "INSIK," accused- arrived and appellant accosted and pointed a gun
appellant. at Longno, saying, "Maano ka?" ("What are you
going to do?"). Longno then faced appellant and
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. said, "Brod, tiruha lang." ("Brod, just shoot.")

130
Apparently irked by the response, appellant fired evident premeditation and abuse of
the gun, hitting Longno in the left forearm. Dullete, superior strength. 6
Canoso and Ramos then scampered for safety as
appellant and the wounded Longno grappled for Appellant's version does not inspire credence.
the gun. It was while the two were thus struggling Well-entrenched is the rule that where the accused
that Altejos stabbed Longno in the chest, after invokes self-defense, it is incumbent upon him to
which both appellant and Altejos ran away. prove by clear and convincing evidence that he
indeed acted in defense of himself. He must rely
Longno then came out of the footwalk shouting, on the strength of his own evidence and not on the
"Tay tiniro ako ni Insik, binuno ako ni Toto." weakness of the prosecution. For, even if the
("Father, I was shot by Insik and stabbed by prosecution evidence is weak, it could not be
Toto."). He was able to run about thirty (30) meters disbelieved after the accused himself had admitted
before he fell. His father, Julio Longno, ran to his the killing. 7
son who was then lying sprawled on the ground.
Rushed to the St. Paul's Hospital, Wilfredo Longno It is a statutory and doctrinal requirement that for
died. Later, it was established that the cause of the justifying circumstance of self-defense, the
death was hemorrhage, secondary to stab wound. presence of unlawful aggression is a
condition sine qua non. There can be no self-
Appellant's version of the incident, however, defense, complete or incomplete, unless the victim
differs. He admits having shot Longno but pleads has committed an unlawful aggression against the
self-defense. He claims that on September 17, person defending himself.8
1983, he left the house of his father-in-law at about
8:00 o'clock P.M. with his cousin, Altejos. The In the present case, the burden of evidence having
latter had asked for help to have a .22 caliber been shifted, we hold that the defense failed to
revolver repaired and appellant was taking the establish the primary element of unlawful
revolver to a policeman friend of his. On their way, aggression on the part of the victim and, therefore,
appellant saw Longno from a distance. Upon his the plea of self-defense must fail. The narrations
approach, Longno allegedly said, "Insik, I heard of the sequence of events by the accused, and by
that you are not afraid of me. Maybe you want to the lone alleged eyewitness for the defense, Jose
be taught a lesson." 4 Randera, are unconvincing primarily on account of
their inherent inconsistency and conflict with each
Appellant claims that the deceased had a revolver other.
tucked in his waist and was about to draw the
same. He, therefore, parried the gun but it fired Appellant on cross-examination testified as
hitting one of appellant's left fingers which was follows:
later amputated. It was then that appellant pulled
out his gun and shot Longno in the forearm. Q How far were you from Inday Longno
Appellant and Longno afterwards grappled for the when he allegedly fired a shot at you?
gun. Altejos allegedly tried to separate appellant
and Longno but he was brushed aside by the
A One (1) meter.
latter. In the course of their struggle, Altejos then
shouted to appellant, "I stabbed Inday, run," and
so he and Altejos ran away. 5 Q At one (1) meter distance did (sic) you
not able to recognize what kind of a gun
was that allegedly used by Inday Longno?
Appellant, in his brief, makes the following
assignment of errors:
A No, sir, at first I only saw the handle of
the gun and I did not see the body of the
1. The trial court erred in not acquitting the
gun.
accused-appellant for having acted in
complete self-defense.
Q But you can recognize between a pistol
and a revolver?
2. The trial court erred in convicting the
accused-appellant of the crime of murder
and in imposing the penalty of reclusion A Yes, sir.
perpetua when the prosecution has not
established by competent evidence the Q What was that allegedly used by Inday
existence of conspiracy and the presence Longno, was that a pistol or a revolver?
of the aggravating circumstances of

131
A Because immediately after he said those Q When Gerardo Sazon brushed aside the
words 'Maybe you want to learn a lesson gun pointed to him, what else if any did he
he immediately drew his gun and I was do?
able to parry.
A Insik also drew a gun and shot Inday,
xxx xxx xxx
COURT: (To the witness)
Q When you fired at Inday Longno hitting
him on his left arm near the elbow, was he Q What hand?
still holding that gun he used in shooting
you hitting you at the left palm? A Right hand. He drew a gun with his right
hand and shot Inday.
A No, sir, because of too much force the
gun fell. xxx xxx xxx

Q Did you not pick up the gun? ATTY. SORONGON (To the witness)

A No, sir.9 Q You said that there was a brushing, who


was brushing aside and who was brushed
On the other hand, defense eyewitness Jose aside?
Randera stated in his testimony:
WITNESS JOSE RANDERA:
ATTY. SORONGON: (To the witness)
Q Inday parried Cornelio Artejos (sic).
Q While Wilfredo Longno alias Inday was
pointing a gun at Gerardo Sazon alias COURT: (To the witness)
Insik, what was Gerardo Sazon doing?
Q And, what happened next?
WITNESS JOSE RANDERA:
Cornelio Artejos (sic) pulled out a knife and
A When Inday said something, Insik Sazon stabbed Inday.
brushed aside the gun and the gun fired.
Q This happened when Inday was already
xxx xxx xxx hit by Sazon?

Q You said, that Wilfredo Longno alias A Yes, sir.


Inday pointed a gun at Gerardo Sazon
alias Insik, with what hand was he holding
ATTY. SORONGON (To the witness)
that gun when he was pointing that gun to
Gerardo Sazon?
Q When Cornelio Artejos (sic) stabbed
Wilfredo Longno alias Inday, what was
WITNESS JOSE RANDERA:
Gerardo Sazon and Wilfredo Longno
doing if they were doing anything?
A His right hand.
A They were graffling of (sic) the weapon.
ATTY. SORONGON (To the witness)
Q You are referring to whose weapon they
Q You said that Gerardo Sazon brushed were graffling (sic) at that time?
aside the gun which was being pointed to
him, what hand did Gerardo Sazon used
A Inday's weapon.10
(sic) in brushing that gun?
The testimonies aforequoted reveal an
A His left hand.
inconsistency on the matter of the gun for which
appellant and the victim supposedly grappled.
While appellant claimed that the victim's weapon
fell to the ground, witness Randera stated that

132
appellant and the victim still grappled for the imputation of guilt against him arising from his
latter's gun. The latter statement is itself difficult to flight. 15
imagine since appellant at that precise moment
was also allegedly holding with his right hand the At any rate, unlawful aggression on the part of the
gun which he used in shooting Longno. victim is further negated by the physical evidence
in the case. Again, we quote the trial court with
It is necessary to stress that such inconsistency approval:
cannot be considered a minor detail since the
homogeneity of the answers to the inquiry could The testimony of the accused Gerardo
very well have established the existence of not Sazon that the deceased was armed with
only a single gun. Had this prevarication not been a gun and fired at him is not borne out by
exposed, said testimonies could have bolstered the physical evidence in this case. The
the defense theory that the victim himself carried a paraffin test conducted on the cadaver of
gun which he used to assault the appellant and the deceased showed that the hands of the
thus establish the element of unlawful aggression deceased were negative for gunpowder
contrived by the defense. residues indicating that he did not fire a
gun during the incident. The other parts of
Furthermore, the credibility of witness Randera is his body like his forearm and his abdomen
shattered by this finding of the trial court which is bore strong traces of gunpowder residues
sustained by the evidence: because of the burst of the gun of the
accused. The court is convinced beyond
The testimony of security guard Jose reasonable doubt that there was only one
Randera deserves scant consideration not gun during the incident and that the gun
only because he admitted that he was one belonged to and/or was used by the
of those threatened by the deceased accused Gerardo Sazon. That a part of
Wilfredo Longno but also because he one of his fingers was blown off at very
wilfully falsified the truth when he testified close range, according to Dr. Ely Canja
that the deceased was shot and hit by the strongly indicated that the accused
accused on the body and that he saw accidentally hit his finger when he and the
blood come out just below the right breast deceased grappled for the possession of
of the deceased. The physical evidence in the gun. 16
this case showed that there was no wound
on the right breast of the deceased nor on In contrast, appellant was found positive for the
any part of his body. The gunshot wound presence of gunpowder residues (nitrates). While
sustained by the deceased was only on his the presence or absence of nitrates cannot indeed
left forearm. Considering that he testified be considered conclusive proof that one has or has
that there were no other persons there not fired a gun, the following testimony on direct
during the incident except the accused, the examination by prosecution witness Zenaida
deceased and Cornelio Altejos when the Sinfuego a forensic chemist whose expertise on
overwhelming weight of evidence is that the matter was sufficiently established, yields this
there were a lot of other people during the verification:
incident (this) showed that this witness had
small regard for the truth. 11 Atty. E. Original:

Coming back to appellant's representations in Q Now, have you conducted also a paraffin
court, his vacillation as to what he allegedly did examination on the person of Wilfredo
after Altejos stabbed the victim is another instance Longno?
which renders his version highly suspect. While
stating on direct examination that he ran to the COURT:
main road, 12 he claimed on cross-examination that
he only walked a short distance and then went to
Q On the cadaver?
the hospital upon seeing that his hand was
wounded. 13 The latter statement is itself
inconsistent with his earlier declaration during the Atty. E. Original:
same proceeding that he was brought by a
policeman to the hospital. 14 This irresolution on Q On the cadaver?
the part of the appellant was obviously to avoid any
A Yes, Sir.

133
Q Have you brought with you the result of A Last September 18,1983.
that examination?
Q Now before we go on, on that Chemistry
A Yes, Sir. Report which has been marked as Exhibit
'D' regarding the paraffin test conducted
Q Now I have here a carbon original of on the right hand of the accused Gerardo
Chemistry Report No. C-200-83, result of Sazon, your finding there states, positive
the paraffin test on the cadaver of Wilfredo for gunpowder residues, what is the
Longno, please compare this carbon implication?
original to the original copy in your
possession whether it is the same? A The implication states positive, that
Sazon have (sic) fired a gun.
A The same.
Q Within what time-span?
xxx xxx xxx
A Within three days.
Q This report says specimen submitted,
one pair of paraffin casts taken from the Q Within three days?
left and right hands of the cadaver of one
Wilfredo Longno, one piece of paraffin cast A Within three days.
taken from left forearm of same subject
and one piece paraffin last taken from the Q From the examination?
left side of the abdomen. Purpose of
laboratory examination: to determine the
A Three days from the subject firing of a
presence of gunpowder residues (nitrates)
gun.
on the above-mentioned specimens.
Findings, cast from hands-negative for the
presence of gunpowder residues Q And when was the examination
(nitrates). Cast from forearm-positive for conducted?
the presence of gunpowder residues
(nitrates) in the 1 1/2 in, 2 1/2 in, 3 in, and A Last September 19,1983, Your Honor.
4 in radius. Cast from the left side of the
abdomen-positive for the presence of Q September?
gunpowder residues (nitrates) in the
center and in the 1 and 2 in radius. In the A Nineteen.
layman's language Mrs. Sinfuego, will you
please explain to the Honorable Court Q So he could have fired a gun on
these findings 1, 2 and 3? September 17,1983?

A Casts from the hands, negative for the A I think that depends, Your Honor on the
presence of gunpowder residues that requesting party.
means that, no blue specks were found in
the hands of the cadaver.
Q I am asking you if it was possible that he
fired a gun which left the powder burns,
COURT: was it possible that he fired a gun on
September 17?
Q Before we go on, what is the implication
when the finding is negative? A Yes, Your Honor. 17

A Probably, the subject never fired a gun. On cross-examination, Sinfuego further testified
as follows:
Q Within what time-span?
Q Is it possible for a person who has not
A The gunpowder will stay only within fired a firearm and could be (sic) positive
three days. for nitrates?

Q When was this examination conducted? A Yes, Sir.

134
Q In what instance? quo failed to appreciate facts or circumstances of
weight and substance that would have altered its
A For example, if he is near to the person conclusion, the court below, having seen and
firing a gun it is possible that it was carried heard the witnesses during the trial, is in a better
by the wind. position to evaluate their testimonies. No
compelling reason, therefore, lies for this Court to
Q So that is the only case wherein you find disturb the trial court's finding that appellant did not
nitrates on the person who has not fired a act in self-defense. 21
gun?
The Court, however, holds that appellant, albeit
A Also from the fertilizer. guilty, can only be convicted of homicide and not
murder. The trial court correctly held that the killing
was not accompanied by treachery. It, however,
Q You mean, a person handling fertilizers
ruled that there was evident premeditation on the
could also be positive for nitrates?
part of appellant. We find the records sorely
wanting in evidence to support the latter
A Yes, Sir but we have to consider also the conclusion.
time of reaction, from contaminance (sic)
for the nitrates will take effect between two
The fact that appellant told the deceased that he
to three minutes.
would kill him and that two days later, after the
deceased passed by the store where appellant
COURT: and Altejos were drinking softdrinks the latter
followed the former and inflicted the fatal blows,
Q Can you determine on your examination cannot adequately sustain a conclusion of
whether the nitrates found was (sic) the premeditated killing.
nitrates left by gunpowder residues or by
fertilizer can you distinguish that? To justify its attendance, the prosecution must
prove (1) the time when the offender determined
A Yes, Sir. to commit the crime, (2) an act manifestly
indicating that the culprit has clung to his
Q And this (sic) nitrates found on the determination, and (3) a sufficient lapse of time
hands of the accused, could you between the determination and the execution to
determine where did it (sic) come from? allow him to reflect upon the consequences of his
act. 22
A Gunpowder residues. 18
In the case at bar, the first and second elements
Parenthetically, it is true that the bad moral are lacking. The angry outburst of appellant in that
character of the offended party may be proven in incident of September 15, 1983, warning the victim
evidence to establish in any reasonable degree that the former would kill him, does not convince
the probability of the offense charged, 19 e.g., the us that, under the circumstances therein, appellant
quarrelsome nature of the victim may tend to as of that time had already decided to kill the
establish that he started the unlawful aggression. victim. A homicidal premeditation is studiedly
Nonetheless, such evidence, seeking to establish conceived and not impulsively adopted just like
as it does only a probability, cannot prevail over that and, worse, publicly announced. It was more
facts sufficiently proven by the prosecution during of a spontaneous expression of resentment or
the trial belying such aggression. These bravado on the part of appellant.
observations find application in the instant case
where the defense presented and now argue on Again, the circumstance that appellant and Altejos
character evidence consisting of criminal charges were by chance at the store when the victim
involving minor offenses which had been filed passed by cannot be taken as manifestly
against the deceased, but not one of which indicating that appellant had clung to his
resulted in conviction and were in fact dismissed determination to kill the victim. No evidence was
except for one case which was sent to the presented to show that appellant purposely waited
archives. 20 there for the deceased. Nor was there any showing
that the deceased frequently passed by the same
Obviously, whether or not appellant acted in self- route as to warrant and explain appellant's waiting
defense is essentially a question of fact. Being so for the former at that place. Indeed, that the
and in the absence of any showing that the Court a meeting may have been purely accidental is not a

135
remote possibility. We are more inclined to believe we cannot consider evident premeditation against
that it was the belligerent and defiant demeanor of appellant.
the victim when confronted by appellant near the
public faucet that precipitated assault. The rule is that where a conspiracy is proven, a
showing as to who inflicted the fatal wound is not
Under such considerations and there being no required to sustain a conviction. 29 The act of one
other evidence to prove that the death of the victim in killing the victim becomes the act of all the
was the result of meditation, calculation or accused. Insofar as Cornelio Altejos is concerned,
reflection, evident premeditation cannot be however, the trial court never acquired jurisdiction
appreciated to qualify the killing to murder. 23The over him and he can neither be convicted nor
circumstances qualifying or aggravating the act exculpated herein. References in this judgment to
must be proved in an evident and incontestable him are, therefore, obiter and with no binding
manner. They must be proved as conclusively as effect on him. 30
the acts constituting the offense.24 Thus, for the
same reason, the aggravating circumstance of WHEREFORE, the judgment of the trial court is
abuse of superior strength cannot be appreciated MODIFIED. Accused-appellant Gerardo Sazon is
in this case. Superior strength may aggravate or declared GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the
qualify a crime, only if it is clearly shown that there crime of homicide and is hereby sentenced to
was deliberate intent to take advantage of it.25 In suffer the indeterminate penalty of eight (8) years
the absence of any evidence to show that the and one (1) day of prision mayor to fourteen (14)
accused purposely sought to use their superior years, eight (8) months and one (1) day
strength to their advantage in the present case, a of reclusion temporal.
finding to that effect by the trial court cannot be
sustained. The award by the lower court of the items of civil
liability to be paid by accused-appellant to the heirs
Finally, the fact that appellant did not inflict the of the deceased is hereby MODIFIED by
mortal wound upon the deceased is of no moment, disallowing the grant of attorney's fees for lack of
since the existence of conspiracy was basis, and increasing the death indemnity to
satisfactorily shown by the evidence. The P50,000.00 in accordance with the policy adopted
coordinated acts of appellant and Altejos of by the Court en banc on August 30,1990.
immediately following the victim and jointly
confronting him thereafter reveal a concordance SO ORDERED.
and unity of thought which resulted in the
encounter. The circumstances that after the
Melencio-Herrera (Chairman), Padilla and
accused shot the victim in the forearm and, while
Sarmiento, JJ., concur.
he and the victim were grappling for appellant's
gun, Altejos stabbed the victim to death, indicate
closeness and coordination of their action geared Paras, J., is on leave.
towards a common purpose, that is, to kill the
victim. 26 Proof of a previous agreement to commit Republic of the Philippines
the crime is not absolutely essential to establish a SUPREME COURT
conspiracy. It is sufficient that the accused be Manila
shown to have acted in concert pursuant to the
same objective, 27 as such circumstance is EN BANC
invariably indicative of a conspiratorial agreement.
G.R. No. L-25913 February 29, 1969
It bears mention, at this point, that while we have
ruled out evident premeditation in the case, this HEIRS OF RAYMUNDO CASTRO, petitioners,
does not negate the existence of a conspiracy. vs.
True, conspiracy generally involves evident APOLONIO BUSTOS, respondent.
premeditation, but this circumstance requires for
its raison d' etre a sufficient time in a juridical
Sotto, Consengco and Dizon for petitioners.
sense for the accused to meditate and reflect on
Sipin, Abarcar and Baluyot for respondent.
the consequences of his intended action. Such
time element is not an indispensable requirement
for a conspiracy to exist. 28 Consequently, we find BARREDO, J.:
that there was a conspiracy between appellant and
Altejos although, for lack of conclusive showing, Appeal from the Court of Appeals.

136
Respondent Apolonio Bustos was charged in the judgment appealed from, have been
Court of First Instance of Pampanga on October considered and passed upon in our
26, 1962 with the crime of murder for the killing of decision, and we see no reason to alter the
Raymundo Castro whose heirs are now the same in so far as the appellant's guilt of the
petitioners. The trial court found Bustos guilty only crime is concerned. On the other hand, we
of homicide and, crediting him with two mitigating agree with the appellant that in the interest
circumstances, namely, passion or obfuscation of justice and equity and in view of the
and voluntary surrender, sentenced him to an presence of two mitigating circumstances,
indeterminate prison term of 2 years, 4 months and without any aggravating one to offset
1 day of prision correccional, as minimum, to 8 them, the award of moral and
years and 1 day of prision mayor, as maximum, compensatory damages should be
and to indemnify the petitioners, who were eliminated.
represented in the case by a private prosecutor, in
the sum of six thousand pesos (P6,000) "without WHEREFORE, the decision promulgated
prejudice to whatever the accused (respondent) is October 18, 1965, is hereby amended by
entitled from the Government Service Insurance eliminating therefrom the award of
System (GSIS) for his services of around twenty- P6,000.00 representing moral damages,
six (26) years as a public school teacher, prior to and of P13,380.00 representing the
October 20, 1962." Both respondent and decedent's loss of earnings.
petitioners appealed to the Court of Appeals,
respondent asking that appellate, court acquit him From this amended decision, only petitioners have
and petitioners praying, on the other hand, that appealed to Us. The prayer in their petition for
respondent be convicted of murder, that the certiorari asks for nothing more than that the
portion regarding what said respondent will amended decision of the Court of Appeals be
receive from the GSIS be deleted and that he be revoked and reversed, and its original decision be
ordered to pay petitioners "the aggregate sum of affirmed in toto insofar as the award of indemnity
P50,764.00 as indemnity and actual, moral, and damages is concerned. Since We find the
temperate and exemplary damages." For the grounds of the appeal meritorious, We grant fully
purposes of their appeal, petitioners even filed the prayer in the petition.
unnecessarily a printed record on appeal. On
October 18, 1965, the Court of Appeals rendered
This case affords this Court as appropriate an
judgment modifying that of the trial court insofar as
opportunity, as any other, to restate, in a more
it concerned (1) the amount of damages to be
comprehensive way, the law regarding the items
awarded petitioners thus:
of damages that are recoverable in cases of death
caused by a crime, whether the claim therefor is
... Aside from the P6,000 indemnity made in the criminal proceedings itself or in a
awarded by the trial court, which we separate civil action. In the instant case, recovery
uphold, we feel justified, in the exercise of of such damages is being sought in the criminal
our discretion, to award to the heirs of the proceedings but even if it were claimed otherwise,
deceased moral damages in the amount of the indemnity and damages would be the same,
P6,000 plus P13,380.00 to compensate for for generally, the items of damages are identical in
the loss of earning of the decedent at the both procedures, except with respect to attorney's
annual salary of P2,676.00 .... fees and expenses of litigation which can be
awarded only when a separate civil action is
and (2) the mitigating circumstance of instituted. (Art. 2208, Civil Code) With the
"obfuscation", appreciated as such by the trial clarifications We are making herein, at least the
court, which was changed to "vindication of a writer of this opinion expects that litigations
grave offense", but affirming it in all other respects. regarding the aspects of the law herein passed
Upon motion, however, of respondent for the upon may be minimized.
reconsideration of said decision, reiterating his
plea for acquittal, or, in the alternative, praying for As a start, it is to be noted that in the matter of
the elimination of the award of moral and damages, the original decision of the Court of
compensatory damages, the Court of Appeals Appeals, while correct in making a particularization
promulgated on November 13, 1965, an amended in the award of indemnity and damages,
decision, the pertinent portions of which are: nonetheless, still failed to comply strictly with the
constitutional requirement that all decisions of
The arguments interposed by the courts of record must state both the facts and
appellant in his Motion for consideration to the law on which they are based. (Sec. 12, Art.
support the complete reversal of the

137
VIII, Constitution) In said original decision, the When the commission of a crime results in death,
Court of Appeals held: the civil obligations arising therefrom are governed
by the penal laws, "... subject to the provisions of
Coming now to the damages asked by the Art. 2177, and of the pertinent provisions of
heirs of the deceased: Aside from the Chapter 2, Preliminary Title on Human Relations,
P6,000.00 indemnity awarded by the trial and of Title XVIII of this Book (Book IV) regulating
court which we uphold, we feel justified, in damages." (Art. 1161, Civil Code)
the exercise of our discretion, to award to
the heirs of the deceased moral damages Thus, "every person criminally liable for a felony is
in the amount of P6,000 plus P13,380.00 also civily liable." (Art. 100, Revised Penal Code).
to compensate for the loss of earning of This civil liability, in case the felony involves death,
the decedent at the annual salary of includes indemnification for consequential
P2,676.00 (Exh. V; p. 42 t.s.n. Vergara). damages (Art. 104, id.) and said consequential
damages in turn include "... those suffered by his
WHEREFORE, the appealed judgment is family or by a third person by reason of the crime."
modified as above indicated in so far as it (Art. 107, id.) Since these provisions are subject,
concerns the amount of indemnity and however, as above indicated, to certain provisions
damages to be awarded to the heirs of the of the Civil Code, We will now turn to said
deceased, and the mitigating provisions.
circumstance of vindication of a grave
offense which takes the place of the The general rule in the Civil Code is that:
circumstance of obfuscation appreciated
by the trial court; and affirmed in all other In crimes and quasi-delicts, the defendant
respects. Costs against the appellant. shall be liable for all damages which are
the natural and probable consequences of
As can be seen, no legal or factual basis is stated the act or omission complained of. It is not
therein for the award of indemnity and damages to necessary that such damages have been
petitioners; worse, the impression is given that the foreseen or could have reasonably been
said award is purely a matter of discretion on the foreseen by the defendant. (Art. 2202)
part of the court. Clearly, this is not in accordance
with the law. Indeed, it must have been this failure When, however, the crime committed involves
to refer to the pertinent legal provisions which death, there is Art. 2206 which provides thus:
induced the appellate court, at the mere invocation
by respondent of Art. 2204 of the Civil Code, to The amount of damages for death caused
commit the error of readily eliminating in the by a crime or quasi-delict shall be at least
amended decision the items on moral damages three thousand pesos, even though there
and compensation for loss of earning of the may have been mitigating circumstances.
decedent which its original decision had correctly In addition:
contained. Having held that it had discretion in the
premises, the court easily yielded to the argument
(1) The defendant shall be liable for the
that simply because it had credited the respondent
loss of the earning capacity of the
with two mitigating circumstances, it was already
deceased, and the indemnity shall be paid
justified in eliminating the items of damages
to the heirs of the latter; such indemnity
already adverted to, presumably having in mind
shall in every case be assessed and
said Art. 2204 which provides that:
awarded by the court, unless the
deceased on account of permanent
In crimes, the damages to be adjudicated physical disability not caused by the
may be respectively increased or lessened defendant, had no earning capacity at the
according to the aggravating or mitigating time of his death;
circumstances.
(2) If the deceased was obliged to give
Of course, this was clear error, inasmuch as support according to the provisions of
construed literally or otherwise, the quoted article 291, the recipient who is not an heir
provision does not warrant a complete deletion of called to the decedent's inheritance by law
said items of damages. In any event the court of testate or intestate succession may
evidently failed to take into account that several demand support from the person causing
other provisions can come into play considering the death, for a period not exceeding five
the circumstances in this case.

138
years, the exact duration to be fixed by the 1. As indemnity for the death of the victim
court; of the offense — P12,000.00, without the
need of any evidence or proof of damages,
(3) The spouse, legitimate and illegitimate and even though there may have been
descendants and ascendants of the mitigating circumstances attending the
deceased may demand moral damages commission of the offense.
for mental anguish by reason of the death
of the deceased. 2. As indemnity for loss of earning capacity
of the deceased — an amount to be fixed
The amount of P3,000 referred to in the above by the Court according to the
article has already been increased by this Court circumstances of the deceased related to
first, to P6,000.00 in People v. Amansec, 80 Phil. his actual income at the time of death and
426, and lately to P12,000.00 in the case his probable life expectancy, the said
of People v. Pantoja, G. R. No. L-18793, indemnity to be assessed and awarded by
promulgated October 11, 1968, and it must be the court as a matter of duty, unless the
stressed that this amount, as well as the amount deceased had no earning capacity at said
of moral damages, may be adjudicated even time on account of permanent disability not
without proof of pecuniary loss, the assessment of caused by the accused. If the deceased
the moral damages being "left to the discretion of was obliged to give support, under Art.
the court, according to the circumstances of each 291, Civil Code, the recipient who is not an
case." (Art. 2216) heir, may demand support from the
accused for not more than five years, the
Exemplary damages may also be imposed as a exact duration to be fixed by the court.
part of this civil liability when the crime has been
committed with one or more aggravating 3. As moral damages for mental anguish,
circumstances, such damages being "separate — an amount to be fixed by the court. This
and distinct from fines and shall be paid to the may be recovered even by the illegitimate
offended party," (Art. 2230). Exemplary damages descendants and ascendants of the
cannot however be recovered as a matter of right; deceased.
the court will decide whether or not they should be
given. (Art. 2233) 4. As exemplary damages, when the crime
is attended by one or more aggravating
In any event, save as expressly provided in circumstances, — an amount to be fixed in
connection with the indemnity for the sole fact of the discretion of the court, the same to be
death (1st par., Art. 2206) and in cases wherein considered separate from fines.
exemplary damages are awarded precisely
because of the attendance of aggravating 5. As attorney's fees and expresses of
circumstances, (Art. 2230) "... damages to be litigation, — the actual amount thereof,
adjudicated may be respectively increased or (but only when a separate civil action to
lessened according to the aggravating or recover civil liability has been filed or when
mitigating circumstances," (Art. 2204) but "the exemplary damages are awarded).
party suffering the loss or injury must exercise the
diligence of a good father of a family to minimize 6. Interests in the proper cases.
the damages resulting from the act or omisson in
question." (Art. 2203) "Interest as a part of the 7. It must be emphasized that the
damages, may, in a proper case, be adjudicated in indemnities for loss of earning capacity of
the discretion of the Court." (Art. 2211) As to the deceased and for moral damages
attorneys' fees and expenses of litigation, the are recoverable separately from and in
same may be recovered only when exemplary addition to the fixed sum of P12,000.00
damages have been granted (Art. 2208, par. 1) or, corresponding to the indemnity for the sole
as We have already stated, when there is a fact of death, and that these damages
separate civil action. may, however, be respectively increased
or lessened according to the mitigating or
Stated differently, when death occurs as a result of aggravating circumstances, except items 1
a crime, the heirs of the deceased are entitled to and 4 above, for obvious reasons.
the following items of damages:
In the light of the foregoing discussion, it is clear
that the Court of Appeals erred in eliminating in its

139
amended decision, the items of moral damages Bulante v. Chu Liante, G.R. Nos. L- 21583 and L-
and compensation for loss of earning capacity of 21591-92, May 20, 1968 that:
the deceased. Indeed, as to the award of moral
damages in case of death, this Court has already The next item objected to refers to the
held in Mercado v. Lira, etc., G. R. Nos. L-13328- damages awarded to the heirs of the
29, September 29, 1961, that once the heirs of the deceased passengers for loss of earning
deceased claim moral damages and are able to capacity, separately from the indemnities
prove they are entitled thereto, it becomes the duty by reason of death. The ground for the
of the court to make the award. We held: objection is that loss of earning capacity
was not specifically pleaded or claimed in
Art. 2206 states further that "In addition" to the complaint. This item, however, may be
the amount of at least P3,000.00 to be considered included in the prayer for
awarded for the death of a passenger, the "actual damages" and for other "just and
spouse, legitimate and illegitimate equitable reliefs", especially if taken in the
descendants and ascendants of the light of Art. 2206, in connection with Art.
deceased may demand moral damages as 1764, of the Civil Code, which allows, in
a consequence of the death of their addition to an indemnity of at least P3,000
deceased kin, which simply means that by reason of death, recovery for loss of
once the above-mentioned heirs of the earning capacity on the part of the
deceased claim compensation for moral deceased, the same to be paid to his heirs
damages and are able to prove that they "in every case ... unless the deceased on
are entitled to such award, it becomes the account of permanent physical disability
duty of the court to award moral damages not caused by the defendant, had no
to the claimant in an amount earning capacity at the time of his death."
commensurate with the mental anguish
suffered by them. To be sure, these cases of Mercado v.
Lira, Maranan v. Perez and Bulante v. Chu
This doctrine was reiterated in Maranan v. Perez, Liante from which We have quoted, were actions
G. R. No. L-22272, June 26, 1967: based on contracts of common carriers. But the
above-mentioned doctrines are equally applicable
In connection with the award of damages, to civil liability ex delicto because, after all, Art.
the court a quo granted only P3,000 to 2206 of the Civil Code which was applied in said
plaintiff-appellant. This is the minimum cases is precisely the provision pertinent to liability
compensatory damages amount arising from crimes (and quasi-delicts). No doubt,
recoverable under Art. 1764 in connection said Article must have been relied upon by the
with Art. 2206 of the Civil Code when a court in the above cases only because Art. 1764 of
breach of contract results in the the Civil Code provides that said "Art. 2206 shall
passenger's death. As has been the policy also apply to the death of a passenger caused by
followed by this Court, this minimal award the breach of contract of a common carrier."
should be increased to P6,000 .... Still, Art. Accordingly, the interpretation given to said article
2206 and 1764 award moral damages in in those cases are applicable to the case at bar. In
addition to compensatory damages, to the other words, this must be so because under the
parents of the passenger killed to Civil Code, the same rules on damages are
compensate for the mental anguish they generally to be observed, whether death results
suffered. A claim therefor, having been from a crime or a quasi-delict or a breach of the
properly made, it becomes the court's duty contract of common carriage.
to award moral damages. Plaintiff
demands P5,000 as moral damages; As to the amount of the indemnity for moral
however, in the circumstances, We damages and loss of earning capacity of the
consider P3,000 moral damages, in deceased in the present case, the original decision
addition to the P6,000 damages of the Court of Appeals awarding them, does not
aforestated, as sufficient. Interest upon afford sufficient basis for Us to increase the
such damages are also due to plaintiff- amounts fixed by said court, as prayed for by
appellant. appellants. As has already been stated, the said
decision failed to follow the Constitution, not only
Likewise, in the matter of the compensatory in not stating the law on which it is based but also
damages for the loss of earning capacity of the in not making the necessary findings of fact on
deceased, We also held in the case of Daniel which it based its discretion in fixing the respective
amounts it awarded for moral and compensatory

140
damages. Legally, therefore, We can, if We wish capacity of the deceased awarded in the original
to, return this case to that court for it to supply decision of the Court of Appeals in addition, of
these constitutional omissions. We opt however, to course, to the indemnity for death fixed also by
save time and further difficulties for and damages said court at P6,000.00. This amount of P6,000.00
to, the petitioners. Extant in the records before Us We cannot increase to P12,000.00, as allowed
is the fact that the respondent has never disputed in People v. Pantoja, supra, and the subsequent
that petitioners are the widow and seven children cases, (People v. Mongaya G. R. No. L-23708,
of the deceased, three of whom were still minors October 31, 1968, and People v. Ramos, G. R. No.
at the time of his death, nor that the said deceased L-19143, November 29, 1968) because in the
was a public school teacher, 56 years old, and instant suit, neither party has appealed in relation
earning P2,276.00 a year. These facts appear to thereto. This case is now before Us on appeal by
have been repeatedly asserted in the briefs of the offended party only as to specific portions of
petitioners in the Court of Appeals and in this the civil indemnity to be paid by the respondent. It
Court. No denial was ever made by the would have been different if the whole criminal
respondent. When respondent moved for the case were up for our review because then, even
reconsideration of the original decision of the without any appeal on the part of the offended
Court of Appeals, (Annex E of Petition party, We could have still increased the said
for Certiorari) he only argued that in view of the liability of the accused, here-in respondent. (See
mitigating circumstances credited to him by said Mercado v. Lira, supra.)
court, petitioners were not entitled to moral
damages and to indemnity for loss of earning At this juncture, for the guidance of parties similarly
capacity of the deceased; the amounts fixed situated as petitioners herein, and so that there
therefor by said court — he never questioned. may be no useless expenses in appeals by
When petitioners filed their motion for offended parties in regard to the civil aspect of a
reconsideration of the amended decision of the criminal case when no separate civil action has
Court of Appeals, these facts (relationship, been filed by them, it should be made clear that
earnings, etc.) were reiterated. (Annex G, id.) when there is no such separate civil action and the
Respondent did not file any answer to said motion claim for civil indemnity is joined with the criminal
despite the resolution requiring him to do so. (Par. case, no record on appeal, whether printed,
12, Petition for Certiorari) Neither has respondent typewritten or mimeographed, is necessary,
filed any brief in the present instance, except perhaps when formal pleading raising
notwithstanding repeated requests on his part for complicated questions are filed in connection
extension to file the same, which, incidentally, therewith, and still, this would be purely optional on
were all granted. Under these circumstances, We the appellant because anyway the whole original
feel justified in brushing aside strict technicalities record of the case is elevated in appeals in criminal
of procedure in order to accomplish substantial cases. It is already settled that appeals relating to
justice more expeditiously. Anyway, as We said at the civil aspects of a criminal case should follow
the outset, petitioners are asking Us, in the prayer the procedure for appeal required by rules of
of their petition for certiorari, for nothing more than criminal procedure. (People vs. Lorredo, 50 Phil.
to affirm "in toto" the original decision of the Court 209, 220-221; People v. ViIlanueva, G.R. No. L-
of Appeals, and in their lone assignment of error in 18769, May 27, 1966) lawphi 1.nêt

the present instance, their only claim is that "the


Court of Appeals erred when it issued the WHEREFORE, the amended decision of the Court
amended decision eliminating the award of P6,000 of Appeals is modified as hereinabove indicated,
moral damages and the award of P13,380.00 loss in so far as the civil liability of respondent is
of earnings of the deceased Raymundo Castro." In concerned, with costs against him in this instance.
these circumstances, even if We should award the
amounts of damages just mentioned, inspite of the
Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Fernando and
absence of the pertinent findings of fact by the
Teehankee, JJ., concur.
Court of Appeals, We would not have to reach
Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L. and Sanchez, JJ.,
beyond amounts that are undisputed by the
concur in the result.
respondent.
Castro, J., reserves his vote.
We, therefore, overrule the prayer for additional
damages in petitioners' brief and We hold that, on
the basis of the facts not questioned by
respondent, they are entitled only to the P6,000.00
as moral damages and the P13,380.00 as
compensatory damages for the loss of earning

141
Republic of the Philippines Case No. 8367, seeking to recover damages for
SUPREME COURT the death of the deceased. In their answer,
Manila defendants interposed as special defense the
previous acquittal of defendants Primitivo Gustilo
EN BANC and Loreto Perez in the criminal case, and prayed
for the dismissal of the complaint.
G.R. No. L-22183 August 30, 1968
At the pre-trial, on August 5, 1940, the parties
THE RECEIVER FOR NORTH NEGROS agreed to reproduce in the civil case all the
SUGAR COMPANY, INC., petitioner, evidence submitted in the criminal case, as well as
vs. the decision in and the transcript of the
PEDRO V. YBAÑEZ ET AL., respondents. stenographic notes taken during the trial of, the
criminal case. Defendants filed a motion for
summary judgment, praying for the dismissal of
Ross, Selph and Carrascoso for petitioner.
the civil case. The trial court, without any further
Pedro V. Ibañez in his own behalf as respondent.
hearing, considered the case submitted, and
Jose Ma. Lopez Vito for other respondents.
rendered a decision dismissing the case. Appeal
was taken by the plaintiffs to the Court of Appeals,
ZALDIVAR, J.: but the appeal was certified to this Court on the
ground that the appeal merely involved questions
A petition for review of the decision of the Court of of law. This Court, in G.R. No. L-6790, on March
Appeal, rendered on October 14, 1963, in CA-G.R. 28, 1955, reversed the decision of the lower court
No. 28608-R, entitled "Pedro V. Ybañez, and and remanded the case for further proceedings.
Rosario V. Ybañez, represented by her legal
guardian, Pedro V. Ybañez, plaintiffs-appellants, During the pendency of the case in the lower court,
versus North Negros Sugar Company, Inc., plaintiff Rosario V. Ybañez died, leaving as her
Primitivo Gustilo, and Loreto Perez, defendants- only heir, co-plaintiff Pedro V. Ybañez, to continue
appellees." the case. On the other hand, the North Negros
Sugar Company, Inc. was dissolved and was
Plaintiffs-appellants Pedro V. Ybañez and Rosario accordingly substituted by its receiver Dr. Claudio
V. Ybañez, named respondents in the instant R. Luzurriaga. One of the defendants, Loreto
petition,1 are the brother and sister, respectively, Perez, also died in the interim and the case against
and immediate heirs of Cesar V. Ybañez who was him was dismissed.
one of two persons who died as a result of the
collision between the car, where said Cesar V. After having received additional evidence, the
Ybañez was riding and being driven by Gil Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental
Dominguez, and train No. 5, owned by the North rendered judgment, on July 23, 1958, dismissing
Negros Sugar Company, Inc., in the evening of the case anew. Appeal was taken by plaintiff Pedro
August 31, 1937 in the railroad intersection at V. Ybañez to this Court, docketed as G.R. No. L-
Hacienda Santa Teresa, Manapla, Occidental 14849, but because questions of fact were
Negros, while the car was on its way from Bacolod involved, and the amount involved was less than
City to Cadiz. Criminal prosecution for double P200,000, the case was certified, on August 25,
homicide and serious physical injuries through 1960, to the Court of Appeals and docketed in the
reckless imprudence was instituted against Gil latter court as Case No. 28608-R.
Dominguez, driver of the car, and Primitivo Gustilo
and Loreto Perez, operator and brakeman,
The Court of Appeals, on October 14, 1963,
respectively, of the locomotive. The offended
reversed the judgment of the lower court and held
parties reserved their right to institute separate
the North Negros Sugar Company, Inc. liable for
civil actions for damages. Primitivo Gustilo and
the death of Cesar V. Ybañez, ordering it to pay
Loreto Perez were tried together and acquitted of
plaintiff-appellant Pedro V. Ybañez damages
the crime charged. Gil Dominguez was also
consisting of P9,600.00 as compensatory
acquitted in a separate trial.
damages for lost earnings of the deceased;
P6,000.00 for death indemnity; P1,000.00 for
Thereafter, a civil action based on culpa aquiliana funeral expenses; P5,000.00 "as moral damages
was instituted, on May 15, 1940, in the Court of for the mental anguish suffered by the heir";
First Instance of Negros Occidental by Pedro V. P5,000.00 "for attorney's fees, considering the
Ybañez and Rosario V. Ybañez against Primitivo years and extensive work — the protracted
Gustilo, Loreto Perez, and their employer, North litigation had taken;"2 and costs. A motion for
Negros Sugar Company, Inc., docketed as Civil

142
reconsideration filed by defendant North Negros vs. Manila Electric Co.8; and Manzanares vs.
Sugar Company, Inc., upon the grounds, among Moreta9, wherein the fact of heirship, as viewed
others, that the awards of moral damages and from the general principle of succession of the
attorney's fees were not warranted under the law deceased victim, was taken into consideration in
and the circumstances attending the litigation, was determining who would be paid the indemnity for
denied. Hence this petition for review. damages.

In this appeal, or petition for review petitioner limits In reply, petitioner points out that although the
itself to questioning the correctness of the decision cases cited by respondent show that moral
of the Court of Appeals in so far as it awards moral damages were awarded even before the new Civil
damages and attorney's fees. In its brief, petitioner Code took effect, in none of the cases cited,
contents that the Court of Appeals erred: however, were moral damages awarded to a
brother or sister of the deceased, but only to either
1. "in ordering petitioner to pay P5,000 "as moral the victim himself, the surviving spouses, the
damages for mental anguish suffered" by plaintiffs children or the parents.
who were brother and sister of the deceased"; and
To resolve the issue, we have to determine, what
2. "in awarding attorney's fees in the sum of law is a applicable — whether the provisions of the
P5,000 to the heirs of the deceased."3 old Civil Code or of the new Civil Code. We believe
that the old Civil Code is the law applicable to the
1. In support of the first assignment of error, case at bar, subject to such modifications as are
petitioner cites paragraph 3 of Article 2206 of the suggested, or are warranted, under the transitional
new Civil Code, which provides that in case of provisions of the new Civil Code, as we may show
death caused by a crime or quasi-delict, only the at the later part of this opinion. This is so, because
spouse, legitimate and illegitimate descendants the acts and events that gave rise to the instant
and ascendants of the deceased may demand action took place in 1937, and the action was
moral damages for mental anguish by reason of commenced in 1940. Article 2253 of the new Civil
the death of the deceased. Petitioner urges that in Code, provides:
the instant case the heirs of the deceased Cesar
V. Ybañez, being his brother, Pedro V. Ybañez, The Civil Code of 1889 and other previous
and his sister, Rosario V. Ybañez (now deceased), laws shall govern rights originating, under
are not among those entitled to moral damages; said laws, from acts done or events which
consequently, the award to them of moral took place under their regime; even though
damages was not authorized by law. this Code may regulate them in a different
manner, or may not recognize them . . . .
Respondent Pedro V. Ybañez, on the contrary,
contends that the law applicable is in the old Civil The pertinent provisions of the old Civil Code are
Code, and not Article 2206 of the new Civil Code, Articles 1902 and 1903. The first article provides:
because the accident that caused the death
happened in 1937, and the case was filed in 1940. Art. 1902. Any person who by act or
Said respondent maintains that the award of moral omission causes damage to another by his
damages is authorized particularly under Articles fault or negligence shall be liable for the
1902, 1903, 1103, 1104, 1106 and 1107 of the old damage so done.
Civil Code, and as ruled by this Court in the
decisions in Lilius vs. Manila Railroad;4 Gutierrez and the second article in part, provides:
vs. Gutierrez;5 and Castro vs. Acro Taxicab
Inc.6 Moral damages, respondent urges, should be Art. 1903. The obligation imposed by the
paid to the injured person; but if the injured person next preceding article is enforcible not only
died as a consequence of the culpable act and the for personal acts and omissions, but also
victim left no descendants or ascendants, the for those of persons for whom another is
damages must be paid — taking into consideration responsible.
the principles of the general law on damages, of
the law on succession, and the fact that under the
xxx xxx xxx
old Civil Code no specific persons are indicated to
be the only ones entitled to recover moral
damages — to the heirs or next of kin of the victim. Owners or directors of an establishment or
Respondent further cites the rulings of this Court business are equally liable for any
in the cases of Bernal vs. House, et al.7; Astudillo damages caused by their employees while
engaged in the branch of the service in

143
which employed, or on the occasion of the On the basis of the above-quoted article, in
performance of their duties. France, moral damages for mental anguish
(sentimientos afectivos) have been awarded not
This Court said: "Article 1902 of the Civil Code only to parents, children and spouse, of the victim
declares that any person who by an act or of culpa aquiliana but also to brothers and sisters,
omission, characterized by fault or negligence, natural grandparents, and godchildren. 15
causes damage to another shall be liable for the
damage done . . . a person is liable for damage We thus see that a provision in the Civil Code of
done to another by any culpable act; and by France which is substantially similar to the
culpable act is meant any act which is provision of the Civil Code of Spain, relating
blameworthy when judged by accepted legal to culpa aquiliana is so applied by the courts of
standards. The idea thus expressed is France as to hold a person guilty of culpa
undoubtedly broad enough to include any rational aquiliana liable for moral damages to the person
conception of liability for the tortious acts likely to injured, or to his spouse, children, parents,
be developed in any society." 10 The word brothers and sisters, and even to godchildren. If
"damage" in said article, comprehending as it does the provision of our old Civil Code — which was
all that are embraced in its meaning, includes any itself the Civil Code of Spain of 1889 — relating
and all damages that a human being may suffer in to culpa aquiliana were to be applied as it had
any and all the manifestations of his life: physical been applied in France, then the person guilty
or material, moral or psychological, mental or of culpa aquiliana under our old Civil Code would
spiritual, financial, economic, social, political, and be liable for moral damages to the person injured,
religious. 11 or to his spouse, children, parents, brothers and
sisters and even to his godchildren. This would
It is particularly noticeable that Article 1902 mean that under our old Civil Code the liability for
stresses the passive subject of the obligation to moral damages for mental anguish due to culpa
pay damages caused by his fault or negligence. aquiliana was to more persons than what our new
The article does not limit or specify the active Civil Code now provides in its Article 2206 which
subjects, much less the relation that must exist limits the liability for moral damages to the spouse
between the victim of the culpa aquiliana and the and legitimate and illegitimate descendants and
person who may recover damages, thus ascendants of the deceased. And so, under the
warranting the inference that, in principle, anybody new Civil Code, a less severe sanction — at least
who suffers any damage from culpa as regards the persons entitled to moral damages
aquiliana whether a relative or not of the victim, — is provided for, than under the old Civil Code.
may recover damages from the person
responsible therefor. This Court had granted moral Article 2257 of the new Civil Code — one of the
damages not only to the person who himself was transitional provisions — provides as follows:
injured, 12 but also to the legitimate children and
heirs of the deceased. 13 Parents, even natural, Art. 2257. Provisions of this Code which
have also been awarded damages for the death of attach a civil sanction or penalty or a
their children. 14 deprivation of rights to acts or omissions
which were not penalized by the former
We have not come across, and herein respondent laws, are not applicable to those who,
has not cited, any case in this jurisdiction where a when said laws were in force, may have
brother and/or sister of the victim of culpa executed the act or incurred in the
aquiliana was awarded moral damages. In our omission forbidden or condemned by this
search for persuasive authority, however, we Code.
came across decisions by the courts of France
whose Civil Code, in its article 1383, provides If the fault is also punished by the previous
substantially the same as article 1902 of the Civil legislation, the less severe sanction shall
Code of Spain, as follows: be applied.

Cada uno es responsable del daño que ha xxx xxx xxx


causado no solamente por su hecho, sino
tambien por su negligencia o por su (Emphasis supplied.)
imprudencia. (Ripert and
Boulanger, Tratado de Derecho Civil, Vol.
It may well be said that culpa aquiliana, or quasi-
V, 2nd part, p. 50).
delict, is punished both by the old Civil Code — the
previous legislation — and by the new Civil Code.

144
But, as we have pointed out, a less severe whenever it may be "just and equitable,"
sanction, or penalty, for culpa aquiliana is said provision is inapplicable to the
provided for in the new Civil Code. It follows, present case, the same having been
therefore, that Article 2206 of the new Civil Code instituted before the effectivity of the said
— which provides that only the spouse, legitimate Code.
and illegitimate descendants and ascendants may
demand moral damages for mental anguish by The refusal of herein petitioner to pay the damages
reason of the death of the deceased caused asked, although the case was finally decided
by quasi-delict — should be applied in the instant against it, cannot be said to have been caused by
case. Hence, petitioner herein, who claims moral bad faith. In the case of George Edward Koster
damages for the death of his brother Cesar V. Inc. vs. Zulueta, 18 this Court said:
Ybañez caused by quasi-delict, is not entitled to,
and should not have been awarded, moral At common law, the successful party
damages, by the Court of Appeals. 16 usually has no right to have the fees of his
attorney, as such, taxed against his
2. Regarding the second error assigned, petitioner opponent (14 L. ed. 181). The Court will
argues that the Court of Appeals had no special not ordinarily allow counsel fees to the
reason for awarding attorney's fees because the successful party. Each party to the action
petitioner had not acted in gross and evident bad must pay his own lawyer . . . . Counsel fees
faith in resisting respondent's claims for damages, paid in prior action have been allowed . . .
and the claims of respondent herein could not be (where) the conduct of the party against
characterized as "plainly valid, just and whom they were allowed, so directly and
demandable" claims as contemplated under certainly caused the expenditure for this
paragraph (5) of Article 2208 of the new Civil purpose, that the loss of the amount so
Code, considering that the two employees, for paid was easily within such causal
whose alleged negligent acts herein petitioner is relations to the defendant's wrong as to
made to answer, were acquitted in the criminal warrant the assessment of the damages in
case, and the civil case for damages was compensation for it (Sears vs. Inhabitants
dismissed by the trial court. of Nahant, 102 N. E. 491.). Our rulings
before the New Civil Code took effect (the
Respondent, on the other hand, argues that the present case having arisen before) have
Court of Appeals gave as reason for the award of been as follows:
attorney's fees: "considering the years and
extensive work — the protracted litigation had "It is not sound public policy to
taken." Respondent also maintains that the award place a penalty on the right to
must have been based by the Court of Appeals on litigate. To compel the defeated
Article 2208 (11) and Article 2253 of the new Civil party to pay the fees of counsel for
Code. his successful opponent would
throw wide the door of temptation
But petitioner urges that the issue is whether or not to the opposing party and his
attorney's fees might be recovered, and not the counsel to swell the fees to undue
amount of attorney's fees in the determination of proportions, and to apportion them
which the long years of litigation given as reason arbitrarily between those
by the Court of Appeals would be pertinent. pertaining properly to one branch
of the case from the other.
Respondent's argument that the award of
attorney's fees was justified under Article 2208 "This Court has already placed
(11) of the new Civil Code is untenable, because itself on record as favoring the
the instant case was filed on May 15, 1940, or view taken by those courts which
before the effectivity of the new Civil Code. This hold that attorney's fees are not a
Court, in the case of Bureau of Lands vs. Samia, proper element of damages." (Tan
et al., 17 held: Ti vs. Alvear, 26 Phil. 566; The
Borden Co. vs. Doctors
That portion of the decision which awards Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 90 Phil.
P10,000 to respondents as attorney's fees 500).
is untenable. Although courts have, under
paragraph (11) of Article 2208 of the Civil ". . . Counsel fees, other than those
Code, authority to award attorney's fees fixed in the rules as costs, are not

145
an element of recoverable Candano Shipping is a domestic corporation
damages." (Jesswani vs. engaged in the business of coastwise trading
Masaram Dialdas, G.R. No. L- within the Philippines.3On 7 March 1994,
4651, May 12, 1952)." Melquiades Sugata-on was employed by Candano
Shipping as Third Marine Engineer on board its
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of cargo vessel, M/V David, Jr., with the monthly
Appeals sought to be reviewed should be, as it is salary of ₱7,800.00.4
hereby, modified by eliminating therefrom the
award of P5,000.00 for moral damages for mental On 25 March 1996, M/V David, Jr. left the port of
anguish suffered by the heir, and the award of Davao City with its cargo and 20 crew members.
P5,000.00 for attorney's fees. No pronouncement The voyage was initially uneventful until around
as to costs. It is so ordered. seven o’clock in the evening of 27 March 1996
when the vessel encountered rough seas and
Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, strong winds while traversing the waters of Lianga
Makalintal, Sanchez, Castro, Angeles and Bay, Surigao del Sur, causing her to tilt at three
Fernando, JJ., concur. degrees on its starboard side. Due to the violent
waves which continuously hammered the tilting
vessel, the seawaters slowly swallowed up the
Republic of the Philippines
main deck causing the tilting to worsen up to 30
SUPREME COURT
degrees. In an effort to salvage the vessel, the ship
Manila
captain changed its course from the north to the
south but the tilting continued to grow to a
THIRD DIVISION dangerously high level, rendering the vessel
beyond control. It was at this point when the ship
G.R. No. 163212 March 13, 2007 captain ordered the crew members to abandon the
vessel. Despite the efforts exerted by the crew
CANDANO SHIPPING LINES, INC., Petitioner, members to save the vessel, M/V David, Jr. sank
vs. together with her cargo at around eleven o’clock in
FLORENTINA J. SUGATA-ON, Respondent. the evening at Bakulin Point, Lianga Bay, Surigao
del Sur. Among the 20 crew members, twelve
DECISION survived, one died and seven were missing. One
of those who were missing was Melquiades
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: Sugata-on (Melquiades), the husband of herein
respondent, Florentina Sugata-on, (Florentina) as
shown in the List of Surviving Crew of the Ill-Fated
This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under
David, Jr., prepared by Candano Shipping.5
Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court, seeking to
reverse and set aside the Court of Appeals
Decision1 dated 23 May 2003 and its Resolution Upon learning of Melquiades’ fate, Florentina
dated 1 April 2004, affirming with modification the immediately went to the office of Candano
Decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Shipping in Manila to claim the death benefits of
Manila, Branch 20, finding Candano Shipping her husband but it refused to pay.6
Lines, Inc. (Candano Shipping) liable for the death
of Melquiades Sugata-on. The dispositive portion Such refusal prompted Florentina to institute on 31
of the assailed decision of the appellate court January 1997, an action seeking indemnity for the
reads: death of her husband against Candano Shipping
before the RTC of Manila, Branch 20. She
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the grounded her case on the provision of Article
appealed decision is AFFIRMED, with 17117 of the New Civil Code, which imposes upon
the MODIFICATION that: (1) the awarded the employer liability for the death of his employee
compensation for the death of Melquiades Sugata- in the course of employment, even if the death is
on is reduced to ₱608,400.00; and, (2) the award caused by a fortuitous event. Accordingly,
of moral and exemplary damages as well as Florentina prayed that actual, moral and
attorney’s fees is deleted. No pronouncement as exemplary damages including attorney’s fees, be
to costs.2 awarded in her favor.8

The factual and procedural antecedents of this In its Answer,9 Candano Shipping countered that
instant petition are as follows: Florentina had no cause of action against it
because the death of Melquiades was not yet an

146
established fact since he was merely reported Article 194 of the Labor Code of the Philippines, as
missing upon the sinking of M/V David, Jr. The amended, to wit:
filing of the case before the RTC therefore was
premature for she should have waited until the ART. 194. DEATH. – (a) Under such regulations
body of Melquiades could be recovered or until the as the Commission may approve, the System shall
lapse of time which would render the provision of pay to the primary beneficiaries upon the death of
Article 391 of the New Civil Code10 on presumptive the covered employee under this Title an amount
death operative. equivalent to his monthly income benefit, plus ten
percent thereof for each dependent child, but not
The RTC resolved the controversy in favor of exceeding five, beginning with the youngest and
Florentina and ratiocinated that the provision of without substitution, except as provided for in
Article 391 of the New Civil Code on presumptive paragraph (j) of Article 167 hereof; Provided,
death had become operative since the period of however, That the monthly income benefit shall be
four years had already elapsed since Melquiades guaranteed for five years: Provided, further, That if
was reported missing upon the sinking incident he has no primary beneficiary, the System shall
which occurred on 27 March 1996. In a pay to his secondary beneficiaries the monthly
Decision11promulgated on 15 February 2001, the income benefit not to exceed sixty months;
RTC ordered Candano Shipping to indemnify Provided, finally, That the minimum monthly death
Florentina for the death of her husband, in the benefit shall not be less that fifteen thousand
following amounts: pesos.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is In a Resolution16 issued on 1 April 2004, the Court
hereby rendered ordering defendant Candano of Appeals denied the Motion for Reconsideration
Shipping Lines, Inc. to indemnify plaintiff Forentina filed by Candano Shipping for failure to offer any
J. Sugata-on the amount of ₱988,400.00 as actual justifiable ground to modify, reverse or reconsider
damages, ₱100,000.00 as moral damages the questioned decision.
₱50,000.00 as exemplary damages and 10% of
the amount due as and for attorney’s fees plus the Hence, this instant Petition for Review on
cost of suit. Certiorari filed by Candano Shipping raising the
following issues:
The award for actual damages amounting to
₱988,400.00 was computed by the lower court by WHETHER OR NOT THE FORMULA
adopting the formula in the computation of loss of FOR FIXING THE AMOUNT OF DEATH
earning capacity enunciated in the case of Villa COMPENSATION IN ARTICLE 194 OF
Rey Transit, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,12wherein the THE LABOR CODE APPLIES IN
annual expenses of the deceased are deducted DETERMINING THE COMPENSATION
from his gross annual income and multiplied by life CLAIMED BY THE HEIR OF THE
expectancy (gross annual income – annual DECEASED EMPLOYEE AGAINST THE
expense x life expectancy).13 EMPLOYER UNDER ARTICLE 1711?

The Motion for Reconsideration interposed by WHETHER OR NOT IT IS PERMITTED


Candano Shipping was denied by the RTC for lack FOR THE COURT OF APPEALS, ON
of cogent reason to disturb or reconsider its ORDINARY APPEAL, TO APPLY ART.
decision.14 194 OF THE LABOR CODE ON A CLAIM
FOR DEATH COMPENSATION OF AN
Aggrieved, Candano Shipping elevated the EMPLOYEE AGAINST THE EMPLOYER
adverse RTC decision to the Court of Appeals, FILED AND TRIED BEFORE THE
which in turn, affirmed with modification the REGULAR COURTS ON THE BASIS OF
judgment of the lower court. The award for actual ARTICLE 1711 OF THE CIVIL CODE AND
damages was reduced from ₱998,400.00 to THE DOCTRINE ENUNCIATED IN THE
₱608,400.00, while the awards for moral and VILLA REY TRANSIT CASE?
exemplary damages including attorney’s fees
were deleted for lack of sufficient basis for their WHETHER OR NOT APPLICATION OF
allowance.15 ARTICLE 194 OF THE LABOR CODE ON
THE CLAIM FOR DEATH
In arriving at the sum of ₱608,400.00, the COMPENSATION OF RESPONDENT
appellate court applied the standard prescribed by OUSTS THE REGULAR COURTS,

147
INCLUDING THE COURT OF APPEALS theory that the basis of the compensation under
OF JURISDICTION OVER THE CASE? the Workmen’s Compensation Act is separate and
distinct from the award of damages under the Civil
IN THE EVENT THAT THE SUPREME Code, thus:
COURT RULES THAT THE COURT OF
APPEALS APPLICATION OF ARTICLE The rationale in awarding compensation under the
194 OF THE LABOR CODE IN THIS Workmen’s Compensation Act differs from that in
CASE SHOULD BE SET ASIDE, IS giving damages under the Civil Code. The
RESPONDENT ENTITLED TO compensation acts are based on a theory of
RECOVER DEATH COMPENSATION compensation distinct from the existing theories of
FROM PETITIONER IN ACCORDANCE damages, payments under the acts being made as
WITH HER THEORY OF THE CASE AS compensation and not as damages (99 C.J.S. 53).
ALLEGED, ARGUED AND TRIED Compensation is given to mitigate harshness and
BEFORE THE TRIAL COURT.17 insecurity of industrial life for the workman and his
family. Hence, an employer is liable whether
Since the factual findings of the RTC and the Court negligence exists or not since liability is created by
of Appeals that the non-recovery of Melquiades’ law. Recovery under the Act is not based on any
body for the period of four (4) years from 27 March theory of actionable wrong on the part of the
1996 creates a presumption that he is already employer (99 D.J.S. 36).
dead and that his death was caused by a fortuitous
event, were already settled, and considering that In other words, under compensation acts, the
these findings were not controverted by the parties employer is liable to pay compensation benefits for
in this instant petition, we find no compelling loss of income, as long as the death, sickness or
reason to disturb the same. Henceforth, we will injury is work-connected or work-aggravated, even
limit our discussion to the computation of the if the death or injury is not due to the fault of the
amount of indemnification. employer (Murillo v. Mendoza, 66 Phil. 689). On
the other hand, damages are awarded to one as a
In its Petition, Candano Shipping argues that the vindication of the wrongful invasion of his rights. It
application of the measure stipulated under Article is the indemnity recoverable by a person who has
194 of the Labor Code is erroneous since it applies sustained injury either in his person, property or
only to death compensation to be paid by the relative rights, through the act or default of another
Social Security System to the beneficiaries of a (25 C.J.S. 452).
deceased member, to which proposition Florentina
concedes. We agree. The remedy availed by The principle underscored in the case
Sugata-on in filing the claim under the New Civil of Floresca was further affirmed in the later case
Code has been validly recognized by the of Ysmael Maritime Corporation v.
prevailing jurisprudence on the matter. Avelino,20 wherein we emphasized that once the
claimant had already exercised his choice to
In the case of Floresca v. Philex Mining pursue his right under one remedy, he is barred
Company,18 we declared that the employees may from proceeding with an alternative remedy. As
invoke either the Workmen’s Compensation Act or eloquently laid down by Chief Justice Marcelo
the provisions of the Civil Code, subject to the Fernan:
consequence that the choice of one remedy will
exclude the other and that the acceptance of the It is therefore clear that respondents had not only
compensation under the remedy chosen will opted to recover under the Act but they had also
exclude the other remedy. The exception is where been duly paid. At the very least, a sense of fair
the claimant who had already been paid under the play would demand that if a person entitled to a
Workmen’s Compensation Act may still sue for choice of remedies made a first election and
damages under the Civil Code on the basis of accepted the benefits thereof, he should no longer
supervening facts or developments occurring after be allowed to exercise the second option. "Having
he opted for the first remedy.19 staked his fortunes on a particular remedy,
(he) is precluded from pursuing the alternate
Stated differently, save for the recognized course, at least until the prior claim is rejected
exception, an employee cannot pursue both by the Compensation Commission."
remedies simultaneously but has the option to
proceed by interposing one remedy and waiving In the case at bar, Florentina was forced to institute
his right over the other. As we have explained a civil suit for indemnity under the New Civil Code,
in Floresca, this doctrinal rule is rooted on the

148
after Candano Shipping refused to compensate of, or injury to, his employee imposed by Article
her husband’s death. 1711 of the Civil Code, which reads:

The pertinent provision of the New Civil Code Article 1711. Owners of enterprises and other
reads: employers are obliged to pay compensation for the
death x x x.
Article 1711. Owners of enterprises and other
employers are obliged to pay compensation for the We find the abovequoted provision to be
death of or injuries to their laborers, workmen, applicable and controlling in this case. The matter
mechanics or other employees, even though the of the amount of compensation and allowable
event may have been purely accidental or entirely medical expenses should be properly determined
due to a fortuitous cause, if the death or personal by the Municipal Court after the parties are heard
injury arose out of and in the course of accordingly.
employment. The employer is also liable for
compensation if the employee contracts any Given that the right of the claimant arose from the
illness or diseases caused by such employment or contract of employment and the corresponding
as the result of the nature of employment. If the obligation imposed by the New Civil Code upon the
mishap was due to the employee’s own notorious employer to indemnify the former for death and
negligence, or voluntary act, or drunkenness, the injury of the employee circumstanced by his
employer shall not be liable for compensation. employment, necessarily, the provisions of the
When the employee’s lack of due care contributed same code on damages shall govern the extent of
to his death or injury, the compensation shall be the employer’s liability.
equitably reduced.
The pertinent provision on damages under the
In the case of Philippine Air Lines, Inc. v. Court of New Civil Code provides:
Appeals,21 this Court validated the strength of the
aforementioned provision and made the employer Art. 2199. Except as provided by law or by
liable for the injury suffered by its employee in the stipulation, one is entitled to an adequate
course of employment. We thus ruled: compensation only for such pecuniary loss
suffered by him as he has duly proved. Such
Having affirmed the gross negligence of PAL in compensation is referred to as actual or
allowing Capt. Delfin Bustamante to fly the plane compensatory damages.
to Daet on January 8, 1951 whose slow reaction
and poor judgment was the cause of the crash- Article 2200. Indemnification for damages shall
landing of the plane which resulted in private comprehend not only the value of the loss
respondent Samson hitting his head against the suffered, but also that of the profits which the
windshield and causing him injuries for which obligee failed to obtain.
reason PAL terminated his services and
employment as pilot after refusing to provide him
In order to give breath to the aforestated provisions
with the necessary medical treatment of
on damages of the New Civil Code, they must be
respondent’s periodic spells, headache and
transformed into a more tangible and practical
general debility produced from said injuries, We
mathematical form, so that the purpose of the law
must necessarily affirm likewise the award of
to indemnify the employee or his heirs for his death
damages or compensation under the
or injury occasioned by his employment, as
provisions of Art. 1711 and Art. 1712 of the New
envisioned by the Article 1711 of the same code
Civil Code. x x x.
may be realized. We deem it best to adopt the
formula for loss of earning capacity enunciated in
As early as the case of Valencia v. Manila Yacht the case of Villa Rey v. Court of Appeals,23 in
Club, Inc.,22 this Court, speaking through the computing the amount of actual damages to be
renowned civilist, Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes, awarded to the claimant under Article 1711 of the
made a pronouncement that Article 1711 of the New Civil Code.
Civil Code imposes upon the employer the
obligation to compensate the employee for
In Villa Rey, the common carrier was made liable
injury or sickness occasioned by his
for the death of its passenger on board a
employment, and thus articulated:
passenger bus owned and operated by Villa Rey
Transit, Inc. going to Manila from Lingayen,
>Appellant’s demand for compensation is Pangasinan. While the bus was nearing Sadsaran
predicated on employer’s liability for the sickness Bridge in Barrio Sto. Domingo, Minalin,

149
Pampanga, it frontally hit the rear side of bull cart Jurisprudence provides that the first factor, i.e., life
filled with hay and bamboo poles. The protruding expectancy, shall be computed by applying the
end of one bamboo pole, about eight feet long, formula (2/3 x [80 - age at death]) adopted in the
penetrated through the glass windshield of the bus American Expectancy Table of Mortality or the
and hit the face of Policarpio Quintos, Jr., who was Actuarial of Combined Experience Table of
then sitting at the front row, causing his death.24 Mortality.30

The obligation of the common carrier to indemnify In the computation of the second factor, it is
its passenger or his heirs for injury or death arose computed by multiplying the life expectancy by the
from the contract of carriage entered into by the net earnings of the deceased, i.e., the total
common carrier and the passenger.25 By the very earnings less expenses necessary in the creation
nature of the obligation which is imbued with public of such earnings or income and less living and
interest,26 in contract of carriage the carrier other incidental expenses.31 The loss is not
assumes the express obligation to transport its equivalent to the entire earnings of the deceased,
passenger to his destination safely and to observe but only such portion that he would have used to
extraordinary diligence with due regard to all the support his dependents or heirs. Hence, we
circumstances, and any injury that might be deduct from his gross earnings the necessary
suffered by the passenger is right away expenses supposed to be used by the deceased
attributable to the fault or negligence of the carrier for his own needs.32 The Court explained in Villa
and thus gives rise to the right of the passenger or Rey: 1avvphi1

his heirs for indemnity.27


[(The award of damages for loss of earning
In the same breadth, the employer shall be liable capacity is)] concerned with the determination of
for the death or personal injury of its employees in losses or damages sustained by the private
the course of employment as sanctioned by Article respondents, as dependents and intestate heirs of
1711 of the New Civil Code. The liability of the the deceased, and that said damages consist, not
employer for death or personal injury of his of the full amount of his earnings, but of the
employees arose from the contract of employment support they received or would have received from
entered into between the employer and his him had he not died in consequence of negligence
employee which is likewise imbued with public of petitioner’s agent. In fixing the amount of that
interest.28 Accordingly, when the employee died or support, we must reckon with the ‘necessary
was injured in the occasion of employment, the expenses of his own living’, which should be
obligation of the employer for indemnity, deducted from his earnings. Thus, it has been
automatically attaches. The indemnity may consistently held that earning capacity, as an
partake of the form of actual, moral, nominal, element of damages to one’s estate for his death
temperate, liquidated or exemplary damages, as by wrongful act is necessa